Homestead: Sterling Marlin race report

Engine Failure Latest Culprit to Hinder Marlin's No. 14 Team HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 19, 2006)-- It seems Sterling Marlin can't catch a break. Despite starting from the top 20 and piloting a strong Chevy throughout Sunday's Nextel Cup season ...

Engine Failure Latest Culprit to Hinder Marlin's No. 14 Team

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 19, 2006)-- It seems Sterling Marlin can't catch a break.

Despite starting from the top 20 and piloting a strong Chevy throughout Sunday's Nextel Cup season finale, bad luck continued to haunt the No. 14 race team as a faulty engine relegated the team to a 37th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"The Ginn Clubs & Resorts Chevy was strong today," said Marlin, who started the event 18th. "But I felt the motor missing about halfway through the race and knew right then we had an engine problem. It seems like the same song every week-- perform well and then fall victim to bad luck. Hopefully the end of the season will mark the end of the bad luck."

Marlin brought the No. 14 Chevy to the garage area where team members went to work on the engine. Marlin returned to the track and completed an additional 64 laps, improving his finishing position by two spots.

"Hendrick Motorsports provides us with great motors each and every week and its very rare they have a malfunction," explained Marlin. "But things happen sometimes. I hate it for the team and for everyone at Ginn and Waste Management. We had a good car today, but we can't gain points sitting in the garage."

Marlin and Kyle Petty have been in a race of their own over the last several weeks with each driver vying to finish the season with a coveted spot in the top 35 in owner points. Only the top 35 cars in the owner standings are guaranteed spots for the first five races of the 2007 season.

"Kyle (Petty) and I have been racing hard the last few weeks and this is the kind of luck our team continues to have," said Marlin. "We've been racing hard and clean on the track--and we both wanted the decision to be made on the racetrack, not by bad luck."

Despite their result in Sunday's Ford 400 and the recent finishing positions they've been credited with, both Marlin and crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe will head into the off season with their heads held high.

"Everyone on this No. 14 car has kept their chins up and kept fighting and working hard and that's what being a team is all about," said Marlin. "We'll be back next year and I think stronger than ever. I have nothing but confidence in this crew and see a bright future for us."

Labbe added, "This team's performances have improved every week over the last couple of months-- we just haven't been able to get away from the bad luck. It's frustrating, but we know that if we can keep improving each week and being competitive like we've been doing lately, the finishes will start improving too."

"I'm excited to be a part of this team," he continued. "It isn't the way we wanted to end the season, but we're going to get things turned around and be better next year. All the guys on the team and at the shop are excited and prepared to start working hard in the off season to be sure the way we've been performing lately will carry over to the entire season next year. We're looking forward to it."

The MB2 Motorsports teams will enjoy some time off before heading to Daytona 500 testing in mid-January. The test session will be in preparation for the 2007 season opener, Feb. 18.

-credit: mb2m

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty , Sterling Marlin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports