STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Marlin's third-place finish matched his best ever at Michigan International Speedway. Marlin finished 10th in last June's race at MIS and third here in 1996. He moved to third in the...
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Marlin's third-place finish matched his best ever at Michigan International Speedway. Marlin finished 10th in last June's race at MIS and third here in 1996. He moved to third in the series standings, 127 points behind leader Jeff Gordon after 14 of 36 races.
"We had a good race car. We had a good car on the long runs, but they could beat us on the get-go. We ran in the corner on the restart and the car wouldn't stick. Jeff got by us and that was it. I hate it for the guys on the crew, and I hate it for Dodge. I thought we were going to get that first Dodge win today, but we'll stick with it and we'll get one soon. If the caution hadn't come out, I think we would have got it today. Me and Jeff were running the same lap times. I feel like we had it. The season ain't half over yet. We'll just keep digging.
"We got a little tight toward the end of the race, but we got it freed up. The guys did a good job. It's frustrating. You're sitting there leading and we've got it if nothing happens and then the caution comes out.
"We had a couple of rough races. We got run over a couple of times, and it's hard to get a real good finish when they're running over you. We were pretty close today. If the caution hadn't come out today, we would have won it. It looked like Jeff's car was getting a little tight there when I passed him that one time. I was trying to set him up and see where I could pass him. When we pitted, we just about had identical times on our pit stops, but when I got back on the track, Gordon was about a straightaway ahead of me. I don't understand how that happened, but that's what happened.
"We're up to third in the points now, and that's great. We've just got to keep working and kick it up a couple more notches. Jarrett and Gordon are tough every week at every track. We're getting there. I think we're getting closer every week.
"We were hoping to give Dodge its first win and Coors Light a win, me a win, everybody. I think if the caution hadn't come out we had it. Me and Jeff ran the same lap times. When we were in clean traffic, he couldn't gain on us. The caution comes out. I don't know if I didn't get the tires cleaned off for the restart or what, but when I went in the corner on the restart and the car didn't stick. Jeff got by us. It always took our car two or three laps on restarts to get going. That's how it came out.
"I was hoping they (Rudd and Gordon) would get together, but they didn't. That's about the only hope I had. If they had raced side by side for another lap I would have got to 'em and tried to make it three deep and got the win.
"Chip (Ganassi) and Felix (Sabates) have really put together a good bunch of people. The guys at the shop are always working and changing stuff. This is a new car here. This is by far the best motor we've had all year, so everybody keeps working hard. We just started with the Dodge this year. They've been working on Fords and Chevrolets a long time. We'll just keep working hard, and I think once we get it put together we'll get some wins.
"Our car for some reason just wouldn't go on restarts. It took it two or three laps to get hooked up and get going. It wasn't power. We had a little problem with the fuel pump on restarts. It stalls on restarts, but we got that fixed. It just wouldn't stick."
"It's real hard to get a good bite on this track on restarts, but once you run a couple of laps you can race real good and run hard for it.
"I was hoping we could hold them off, but for some reason my car just wouldn't go on restarts. It took me a couple of laps to get going. I know the restart before that, two or three of us liked to wreck. Tony Stewart turned sideways. I don't know. It's something about this track and restarts."
TONY GLOVER (Team Manager Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates -- drivers Sterling Marlin and rookie Jason Leffler)
"We just didn't have quite enough downforce I don't guess. We just need to get our stuff a little better. As a group, we (Dodge) definitely need something. We need to get a little better. In the end, the guys with the most downforce can go the fastest. We feel good about our program. We've just got to get better. We've got a daily program, and we've just got to get better each and every day. You just have to work your butt off. If that don't do it, nothing will. You've just got to work your butt off. We've got a heck of a group here. They're all focused. Sterling and Jason are focused. We're working great together, and we've got a good program. I'm proud to be part of it."