Long Pond: Sterling Marlin race report

Coors Original Dodge scores top-5 in Pocono. Marlin remains first in the Winston Cup championship points race. LONG POND, Pa. (June 9, 2002) - Sterling Marlin drove the No. 40 Coors Original Dodge Intrepid R/T to a fourth place finish in the ...

Coors Original Dodge scores top-5 in Pocono.
Marlin remains first in the Winston Cup championship points race.

LONG POND, Pa. (June 9, 2002) - Sterling Marlin drove the No. 40 Coors Original Dodge Intrepid R/T to a fourth place finish in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. For the thirteenth straight race, Marlin remains the leader in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship points standings; he has a 136-point lead over Jimmie Johnson who is currently in second place. This is Marlin's 13th top-15 finish in 13 races this season.

Due to track conditions, qualifying for the Pocono 500 was cancelled on Friday. The field was set per owner's points and the Coors Original Dodge started the race on the pole. Marlin lead laps one and two in the race picking up five bonus points for the Winston Cup championship race.

Early on, the Coors Original Dodge was extremely loose in the center and tight on the exit. After leading for the first two laps of the event, Marlin began to fade back through the field due to the ill-handling car. He continued to lose a spot every one to two laps. The Coors Original pit crew made adjustments during pit stops and the car began to handle well for Marlin close to the half-way point of the race.

After falling back through the field to 20th position, the team opted for a two-tire pit stop on lap 85 to gain ground. The Coors Original Dodge moved from 20th to restarting fourth after the pit stop. Marlin continued to run in the top-10 for the remainder of the race and brought home a fourth place finish.

"It was terrible early, and it took us about half the race to get the car going," Marlin said. "It was pretty decent at the end, but we were no match for the Fords and Chevrolets. We were lucky to get fourth. We were loose early and then got it too tight. The guys never gave up and kept working on it. We're glad to finish fourth as bad as it was early. We didn't lose much speed when we put on two tires. Goodyear has got a great tire, and it never gave up much. We ran our fastest lap on two tires, and the crew made some good calls.

"It felt real good to run in the top-five again. We probably had a 20th-place car early, and we just kept working on it. All the credit goes to the guys. They never gave up. We had been fading at the end. This was kind of different for us. We got going pretty good. Those two-tire changes got us some good track position, and we were running about fifth when we pitted. Some guys put on two and some didn't. All-in-all it was a good run for us."

Next on the schedule for the No. 40 Coors Original team is the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 16, 2002.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Jimmie Johnson