Mark Martin good at Sears Point

Marlin makes good in Sonoma By Dan McCorriston SONOMA Calif., (June 25, 2000) As Jeff Gordon ran away with Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350, the real excitement at the end of the race was for second place. While Sterling Marlin watched Gordon...

Marlin makes good in Sonoma
By Dan McCorriston

SONOMA Calif., (June 25, 2000) As Jeff Gordon ran away with Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350, the real excitement at the end of the race was for second place. While Sterling Marlin watched Gordon pull away, he gazed a wary eye in his rear view mirror as Mark Martin inched ever so closer to the No. 40 Coors Light Ford. The last couple of laps saw some tight battles, especially through turn 11, from where both drivers screamed nearly neck and neck back to the finish line.

"Mark and I raced real clean," said Marlin. "The tires were getting worn there near the end and we started sliding in Turn 1 and coming out of 11 that's why we didn't get a really good grip coming out of there. That's where Jeff started to take off and I just worried about having enough gas to make it through.

"Jeff is awful tough on these courses. He's real smooth. You hardly ever see him do poorly at a road course. On lap 10 I though I might have enough to catch up to him but then the tires weren't doing as good."

Martin has been on the comeback trail lately. He started in seventh position overall and was never out of contention for a top-5 finish all day. His third-place finish marks Martin's highest finish this season since April's Goody's Body Pain 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

"Sterling raced me clean," said Martin. We had a great effort from everyone on the team. We just couldn't get it done. I feel like we're fighting our way back. We've still got some work to do. We still had problems with the car today, but at least we ran pretty good, so we'll take that, try to go on and keep making some progress."

Marlin has never started in the top-10 at Sears Point Raceway until Sunday's sixth-place start. He took advantage of that position to jump to the head of the field early in the race where he raced Gordon back and forth for the lead in the early laps. Marlin credits the Sabco Racing and the No. 40 Coors Light team for his success.

"I've run here a lot and had a good shot to win before," said Marlin. "(The No. 40 Coors Light team) have had opportunities the get a top-5 here before. We just got it done this time."

Marlin has four top-10 finishes so far this season with his next best finish, eighth overall, coming at the Diehard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Marlin has been known for his driving acumen on superspeedways in the past, but now he can add the title of road racing ace to his resume. -nascar.com-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Sterling Marlin , Mark Martin