Sears Point: Sterling Marlin race report

Sterling Marlin Posts 21st-place Finish at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif., (June 27, 2004) --- Despite being spun out twice and experiencing difficulties with third gear, Sterling Marlin was able to pilot his Coors Light Dodge to a...

Sterling Marlin Posts 21st-place Finish at Infineon Raceway

SONOMA, Calif., (June 27, 2004) --- Despite being spun out twice and experiencing difficulties with third gear, Sterling Marlin was able to pilot his Coors Light Dodge to a 21st-place finish in the Dodge/ Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

"We had a good car today," Marlin said. "I am not the biggest fan of road courses but we had been working our way through the field and then Boris got into us and we had some trouble with third gear. Thought we might have been able to get a top-15 until Kenseth got loose and spun us out. I am looking forward to taking the Coors Light Dodge back to Daytona next week. I run well there and always have a good time at Daytona."

Marlin started the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in the 26th spot but within the first lap he had rocketed up seven spots and was running 19th when the first caution came out on lap 3. Marlin restarted 19th and was able to move up two spots when Boris Said made contact with the left side of Marlin's Coors Light Dodge. Marlin was able to avoid contact with any other cars and the wall and continued to make his way around the 2-mile road course.

When the second yellow flag flew on lap 16, Marlin radioed that the car needed more grip. The Coors Light Dodge restarted 21st on lap 19 and had worked its way back up to 17th within four laps. However, the next time around Marlin informed the Coors Light crew that he thought he had lost third gear.

Green-flag pit stops began on lap 30 and Marlin climbed as high as 10th before bringing the Coors Light Dodge down pit road on lap 36 for four fresh tires and fuel. Marlin returned to the track in the 20th spot and again began to climb through the field.

The Coors Light Dodge was running 16th when Matt Kenseth got loose on lap 56 and made contact with Marlin. Marlin's Coors Light Dodge suffered no damage and was able to continue racing without an extra pit stop.

While NASCAR was discussing whether or not to throw a caution, Crew Chief Lee McCall called Marlin into the pits for four fresh tires and fuel. The caution flag flew on lap 67 and unfortunately after the pit stop, McCall was informed by NASCAR that pit road had been closed at the time that Marlin pitted. McCall disagreed with the call and discussed the situation with the officials but the Coors Light Dodge was sent to the tail end of the lead lap.

When racing resumed on lap 70, the Coors Light Dodge restarted 32nd. Marlin continued to shift his way through the field and was credited with a 21st place finish at the end of the 110-lap race.

Marlin's 21st-place finish dropped him to 19th in the NEXTEL Cup championship points, 287 points out of the top 10. Ganassi teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears finished second and seventh respectively. Marlin's third teammate for the weekend, road course specialist Scott Pruett finished third.

The Coors Light team heads to Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400 next weekend. The Pepsi 400 will be broadcast live on FOX on Saturday July 3rd at 7:30 pm.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Boris Said , Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Scott Pruett , Jamie McMurray