Dover: Sterling Marlin race report

The Coors Light Dodge gets caught in multi-car wreck at Dover DOVER, Del., (June 6, 2004) --- While running 11th, Sterling Marlin and the Coors Light Dodge got caught up in a 17-car wreck on lap 347 and finished 29th in the MBNA 400 at Dover ...

The Coors Light Dodge gets caught in multi-car wreck at Dover

DOVER, Del., (June 6, 2004) --- While running 11th, Sterling Marlin and the Coors Light Dodge got caught up in a 17-car wreck on lap 347 and finished 29th in the MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

"Somebody turned somebody and everybody got to hitting everybody," Marlin said. "I don't know how many it took out. We were back on the lead lap. I don't think everybody was lined up right. Something was wrong with the way we were lined up and on the restart and everyone got together. I guess 15 or 20 cars were in it. I just saw a big wreck and a lot of smoke. We did our best to fix the car but we had to park it and end our day early."

After starting 16th, Marlin started to work his way up through the field. When the first caution came out on lap 12, Marlin radioed that the "car started off free but was coming in now." The Coors Light Dodge restarted 14th and had moved up a spot when the mandatory competition caution came out on lap 30. Marlin was still reporting that the car was free so he brought the Coors Light Dodge down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment.

When the race resumed on lap 38, Marlin was running in the 23rd position but had moved up to 16th by lap 108 when the yellow flag waved again. The Coors Light crew made a quick air pressure adjustment and was able to gain three spots and send Marlin back out 13th.

Seventeen laps later, Marlin reported that the car was tight as he began to drop a few spots to 18th when a caution came out on lap 158. Since Marlin was at the tail end of the lead lap, crew chief Lee McCall made the decision to stay out and lead lap 161 before bringing the car down pit road on lap 162. Marlin had radioed the crew that the car was getting tighter the longer he ran and he needed more grip. The crew pulled the rubber out of the left rear and sent the Coors Light Dodge back out in the 17th spot.

Marlin continued to fight the handling of the car and was running 18th, one lap down to the race leaders, when a caution came out on lap 321 for Ryan Newman who spun out on pit road. The Coors Light crew thought this was just the break they needed as most teams had made green-flag pit stops and they had held off for theirs. Marlin brought the Coors Light Dodge down pit road on lap 326 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

As the cars ran around the track under caution, Marlin was being scored 11th, the first car a lap down to the leaders. McCall appealed to the NASCAR officials that the Coors Light Dodge should be the last car on the lead lap but the scoring remained the same.

When the race resumed on lap 346, after 25 laps under caution, Marlin restarted 11th. During the restart, 17 cars got caught up in a wreck and the Coors Light Dodge suffered considerable damage to the front end and radiator. Marlin brought the car to the garage on lap 347 and the Coors Light crew worked furiously to fix the damage and return to the track.

Marlin returned on lap 364 and made nine laps around the track before being parked by NASCAR. The Coors Light Dodge was credited with a 29th-place finish.

Marlin is currently 18th in the NEXTEL Cup championship points, 239 points out of the top 10. Ganassi teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears finished 15th and 28th respectively.

The Coors Light team races at Pocono Raceway next weekend. The Pocono 500 will be broadcast live on FOX and MRN radio on Sunday June 13th.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Ryan Newman , Jamie McMurray