Michigan II: Sterling Marlin race report

Fuel mileage plays a hand in Sterling Marlin's day at Michigan BROOKLYN, MI. (August 17, 2003) --- After working his way from the back of the field, Sterling Marlin's day ended with a 19th place finish in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan ...

Fuel mileage plays a hand in Sterling Marlin's day at Michigan

BROOKLYN, MI. (August 17, 2003) --- After working his way from the back of the field, Sterling Marlin's day ended with a 19th place finish in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway due to fuel mileage.

"We had a great car that drove really good," Marlin said. "The straightaway speed killed us and we couldn't get any gas mileage. We had all of those cautions early, but we had to pit and it just killed us. We had a third-place car and ended up 19th, and that's not what we were looking for. Fuel mileage killed us. Once we can get that figured out we'll be good."

Marlin started the race in 38th position in his Coors Light Dodge after having to take a provisional after qualifying. After Happy Hour practice on Saturday, the Coors Light team changed the motor in the No. 40 Dodge placing Marlin at the rear of the field for Sunday's race. At the start of the race, Marlin was able to move up twelve positions within the first 10 laps. When the caution flag flew on lap 16 Marlin reported that his "hot rod was good" and so the Coors Light crew put four fresh tires and fuel in the car and made no adjustments.

When the race restarted, the Coors Light Dodge flew by the competition and was in the top-10 by lap 38. During the second caution on lap 53, Marlin reported that the car had become tight so he pitted and the team put on four tires, fuel and made the necessary adjustments. Marlin restarted 7th but began to fall back a few spots when the caution flag flew again a few laps later. The tires had not come in yet so Marlin brought the car back in to pit and the team returned the car to the original set up.

Marlin continued to keep the Coors Light Dodge in the hunt for the victory for the next 78 laps and then fuel mileage became a factor. The last caution was on lap 140 of the 200 lap race. The caution period was not within the Coors Light Dodge's fuel window. So the team decided to stay out during that caution and hope that they would catch a break with another caution before the end of the race. The car had to pit under green on lap 184 for right side tires and gas. They restarted 26th and fought the last 15 laps for their 19th place finish.

Marlin currently sits 16th in Winston Cup points. Ganassi teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears finished 36th and 41st respectively.

The Coors Light team races at Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend. The Sharpie 500 will be broadcast live on TNT television and PRN radio on Sunday, August 23rd.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray