Long Pond II: Sterling Marlin race report

Coors Light Team finishes third in Pennsylvania 500. Marlin extends Winston Cup championship points lead. LONG POND, Pa. (July 28, 2002) - Sterling Marlin drove the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T to a third place finish in the...

Coors Light Team finishes third in Pennsylvania 500.
Marlin extends Winston Cup championship points lead.

LONG POND, Pa. (July 28, 2002) - Sterling Marlin drove the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T to a third place finish in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. For the 19th straight race (Rockingham to Pocono), Marlin remains the leader in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship points standings. He extended his points lead to 106 points over Mark Martin who is currently in second place.

The Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono could have been renamed the 24 hours of Pocono this weekend. An early caution involving Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Park caused the race to be red flagged for 65 minutes in order to have track officials repair the damaged guard rail. Twenty laps later, another red flag for rain kept the cars on pit road for another 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Sterling Marlin and the Coors Light team were not phased by the delays. Marlin started the event in 13th place. After Marlin entered the top-5 following the rain delay, he kept his car there for the remainder of the race. The Coors Light Dodge took the lead for the first time on lap 39 and lead the most laps of the day (106 laps) clearly dominating the race.

Due to time constraints, NASCAR officials cut the race short to 175 laps. This worked well in Marlin's favor until a late race caution came out. The Coors Light team gave the No. 40 Dodge one final pit stop but when Marlin went back out, the car was tighter than it was earlier in the day. That allowed Bill Elliott and Kurt Busch to pass Marlin with approximately 25 laps remaining, leaving Marlin with a third place finish.

"We didn't need that last caution," Marlin said after getting out of his car. "The track changes as you go, and it just wasn't to our favor. We led the most laps and gained some points. I wish we could have won, but that was all we had. It was a good points day for us. We finally gained some on Mark Martin (51 points). I'm looking forward to next week at Indy. It was a good weekend for Dodge. That's the second straight win (Ward Burton won last week at New Hampshire), so maybe we can make it three in a row next week at Indy."

Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge, won the Pennsylvania 500. Next on the schedule for the No. 40 Coors Light team is the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 4, 2002.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Steve Park , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Mark Martin