Sixth place finish for Marlin at Pocono LONG POND, Pa. (June 8, 2003) --- Last year at Pocono Raceway, Sterling Marlin finished third and fourth and was a contender to win both races. This year is turning out to be no different. After leading...
Sixth place finish for Marlin at Pocono
LONG POND, Pa. (June 8, 2003) --- Last year at Pocono Raceway, Sterling Marlin finished third and fourth and was a contender to win both races. This year is turning out to be no different. After leading the most laps in his Coors Light Dodge, Marlin had to settle for a sixth place finish in the Pocono 500 on Sunday. Marlin moved up to 10th place in championship points.
Although the Coors Light team had a great day at Pocono Raceway, it didn't come without a little drama. Marlin started the race in 23rd position after a poor qualifying run on Friday. Within the first 20 laps of the 200-lap event, Marlin's Coors Light Dodge lost it's left rear tire and Marlin had to come in for an unscheduled pit stop. On the way in, Marlin radioed to the Coors crew that he thought the 29 car got into him which lead to the blown tire. Marlin went back out in 42nd position but still on the lead lap.
The remainder of the day was a bit more positive for the Coors Light team. After a caution on lap 54, Marlin was able to get back into the top-10 by staying out and not pitting. This move kept the Coors Light Dodge in the top-10 for the rest of the race. Marlin took the lead on lap 102 for the first time. He led 43 laps from that point until lap 154.
On lap 154, the Coors Light crew took four tires and fuel with the leaders under a caution period. Unfortunately, due to the 20 car's good pit stall, they came out first with the Coors Light team following. Marlin was never able to regain the lead after this point. The team had to pit again under green on lap 172 for fuel only. Marlin finished in sixth place and moved up one position to 10th in championship points.
"We had a good car today, and we never gave up after we had to come in early with that cut tire," said crew chief Lee McCall. "We worked on the car all day. We were tight early and kept making small adjustments. That last set of tires didn't have as much grip as Sterling would have liked. All in all it was a good day.
"This is a good race car. It's the first time we've run it, and it looks like we might be taking it to Michigan next week. We were fighting lack of grip there at the end, so we were happy to come home with another top-10 finish. We moved back in the top-10 in the standings, so it was a pretty good day for the Coors Light Dodge."
Ganassi teammates and rookies, Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray finished 21st and 32nd respectively.