Tuesday, May 6, 2003. Winston Teleconference Sterling Marlin and Chip Ganassi STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid) NOTE: Marlin has finished 13th or better in the last four races and moved from 23rd to 10th in the NASCAR...
Tuesday, May 6, 2003.
Sterling Marlin and Chip Ganassi
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid)
NOTE: Marlin has finished 13th or better in the last four races and moved from 23rd to 10th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings.
"I'd rather be running, really. We do it about every week to get used to it. It's kind of weird sometimes to have a break. We're used to racing, and we enjoy it. I'm going to go out Saturday morning and check him (son Steadman competing in Busch race in St. Louis) out. I think Paula and Sutherlin are going to go with me. We'll just make a family day out of it and come on back home.
"It's meant a whole lot to me. It's something my dad did. We used to run local stuff at Nashville, the weekly NASCAR show at the Nashville track. He (Coo Coo Marlin) started running Winston Cup on and off in the late '60s and started about 1970 and 80s when he drove. I've been around it a long, long time and it's amazing how it's grown. Steadman's got a good ride this year. He had a real good run at California. The team is young and they're growing. It's kind of neat to sit back and watch. Time flies. It wasn't too long ago we were carrying him in the car to the races in a baby stroller. It's weird that he's grown up and racing now.
"I've got some friends that live in Jackson, and all your thoughts and prayers go out for 'em. I guess some people in Missouri, they've been spotting tornadoes everywhere. We've been fortunate. It went north and south of us and missed us.
"If you go back, we just had some tough luck the first of the year. We've had a top five car just about every week except Atlanta. We went to Rockingham and blew up and had got all the way to second. We got caught in a wreck at Texas and had a real good car. We got caught in a wreck at Darlington and had a real quick car. Richmond on Saturday night we had a top five car and had some bad pit stops and ended up 13th. We had good cars. We just haven't capitalized on it. At California we had a real quick car and myself and the crew got communication mixed up about which tires to put on the cars. We definitely had a top five car there and finished 10th. We'll get clicking now and get going. We'll look forward to moving up in the points and get us a win.
"We've had some real good races at Michigan and won there. At Pocono, we led over half the thing last year and ended up third behind Dale and Kurt. Pocono is one of my favorite tracks. All the guys have pulled together at the shop. We're a little bit behind on bodies. They're working day and night putting bodies on cars. The motor room has stepped up. We started fast last year and fell off a little bit, so maybe we've got our bad luck out of the way on the start and get going going into the end of the year.
"Richmond is a pretty fast track. You're running pretty quick getting into them corners. It's kind of a deal that's kind of a head-on shot when something does happen. If you're running at the bottom and start spinning you're pretty much going to hit driver's side. There and Martinsville you definitely need soft walls. I wish they had had them last year. It's a real fast track and if you barely get out of the groove and hit the sealer the car will take off with you. It's a neat track. I love racing there. You can run side by side real easy, but if you make just one little mistake it's going to catch the car.
"I guess they've pretty much got them developed and it's just up to the race tracks to install them and put them in. You're pretty much going straight on at Martinsville, and that's one. Some of the road courses you're laying on the left side of the car and if you cut a left front down you're going to be on the left side of the car. Some of the tracks don't need it and some of them do.
"Right now I've got the best sponsor in racing, Coors Light, and the best owners. We've got a great race team up under us. It took a long time to get where I need to be, and I'm just fortunate being with those guys. They've come a long way. We've got air boxes, and they're pretty much air conditioners. It hooks into your helmet and blows cold air in your face during the race. The heat hasn't been that bad the past year or two.
"We knew it was just a matter of time. We got off to a real quick start last year and jumped out and got the points lead. We didn't have any bad luck. This year we started kind of slow, had some tough luck and things went against us. You've just got to keep your head up. You know you've got a good, solid team under you and it'll all come out in the wash. We've got the same team we had in 2001 and 2002. It's the same group of guys, and I wouldn't trade them for anybody. They really work hard week in and week out. When you walk in the garage area, you know you've got one of the best teams in there. We've just had a little bit of bad luck and stuff that wasn't our fault. We were just a victim of circumstances. It'll just take a little time and we'll get going.
"I think Chip has done an excellent job. He hired all the right people. We don't know what would have happened last year, but it would have been pretty neat to win the championship in only your second year in racing. Right now we're back in the top 10 and we're not out of it yet. Stewart was somewhere around 10th at this point last year and came back and won it. We'll just have to see how it shakes out.
"You just don't want to jump right out there and say we've got a soft wall and it not work. It's something NASCAR put on the back burner. They're working on it, and they'll get it done. I don't know who'll pay for it. I guess it'll be between NASCAR and the race tracks.
"There's no points and you'll probably do some things you wouldn't normally do, but I think it's neat for the fans. It's a packed house and gives us something for the next week at Charlotte in the 600. You can test and test at Charlotte and the track changes every two hours. You can try some stuff in the Winston that you might not have time to try during the 600 week"