Marlin Conserves, Salvages 20th-Place Finish in Kansas KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 1, 2006)-- Good pit strategy and savvy driving by Sterling Marlin helped the No. 14 MB2 Motorsports team to salvage a 20th-place finish in Sunday's NEXTEL Cup race at...
Marlin Conserves, Salvages 20th-Place Finish in Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Oct. 1, 2006)-- Good pit strategy and savvy driving by Sterling Marlin helped the No. 14 MB2 Motorsports team to salvage a 20th-place finish in Sunday's NEXTEL Cup race at Kansas Speedway.
Marlin fought an ultra-loose Ginn Clubs & Resorts Chevrolet throughout the 400-mile event regardless of what changes were made. But the No. 14 team managed to persevere and bring home a top-20 finish.
"Slugger (crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe) and the entire Ginn team worked their rear ends off in the pits today," said Marlin. "We made many changes, but for some reason the No. 14 Chevy wasn't cooperating. We'd make a change one way and then the other way and get the same result-- still loose."
Midway through the Banquet 400, Marlin was a lap down and running in the low 30s as a round of green-flag pit stops began. Because they had pitted on a previous caution when the leaders didn't, the Ginn Clubs & Resorts team was able to stay out for nearly 10 laps longer. It turned out to be a good decision.
"We got lucky and the caution came out when we needed it," explained Marlin. "Just a few more laps and we would've had to pit, but something played in our favor this time and we were back on the lead lap."
From then on, Marlin was able to maintain his track position and remained on the lead lap until late in the race when the field went on a long, 68-lap green flag run to the checkered flag. It was at that point that gas mileage became a factor.
The typical fuel mileage window for Kansas Speedway is between 60-65 laps. The No. 14 Chevrolet took the checkered flag on the 68th lap of its fuel run.
"We topped off the gas on lap 198 and decided to go for it from there," explained Labbe. "Sterling drove hard all day and at that point I told him to save as much gas as he could and we were able to drive to the finish.
"It's a hard thing to do-- ask a driver to drive hard and conserve fuel, but he did it," continued Labbe. "A lot of cars had to come in there at the end, but we stayed out and picked up some spots in the finishing order."
Marlin added, "John (Kendrach, engine tuner) did a good job on the motor this weekend and it saved us again. Slugger and I are going to put our heads together and work this thing out-- figure out what's going wrong with the car. Luckily, we have a couple of weeks to think about it because our next trip is somewhere we know we'll be fast."
Marlin is referring to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where next weekend's NEXTEL Cup series event will be held. The race will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.
-credit: mb2 motorsports