Sterling Marlin Atlanta II race report

Marlin Scores 11th Top-5 of Season at Atlanta HAMPTON, Ga. (November 19, 2001)& ...

Marlin Scores 11th Top-5 of Season at Atlanta

HAMPTON, Ga. (November 19, 2001)– The Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T driven by Sterling Marlin finished second in the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Marlin remains fourth overall in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship points standings; he is 16 points out of third place and 42 points out of second place. Jeff Gordon clinched the championship title after a sixth place finish in the NAPA 500.

The Coors Light Dodge began the 500-mile (325 lap) event in 28th position. Marlin moved up to the top-20 by lap 5. The first caution of the race came on lap 16 when Marlin was in 11th position. During the caution period, the Coors Light team brought the car in for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The 15.27-second pit stop put the No. 40 Dodge out in 12th position for the restart.

On the restart (lap 21), Marlin kept a systematic pace and moved up one position at a time– reaching the top-10 on lap 25 and moving into sixth position on lap 28. Marlin continued to race with the second pack of cars (positions six through eighth) until he brought the Coors Light Dodge in for a green flag pit stop on lap 78. The crew gave Marlin a 15.08 second pit stop with four tires, fuel and no adjustments.

After circulating through green flag pit stops, Marlin moved to fifth position on lap 91. The second caution of the day came out on lap 107 bringing the Coors Light Dodge into the pits for a 14.73-second pit stop. Marlin restarted the race in fifth position and competed in the top-5 until taking the lead on lap 174 during the green flag pit stop rotation and picking up five bonus points toward the NASCAR Winston Cup championship points standings. Marlin brought his No. 40 Dodge in for a green flag pit stop on lap 176.

Following the green flag pit stop rotation, Marlin moved into sixth place on lap 186. Another caution on lap 200 brought the Coors Light Dodge in for a pit stop. Marlin restarted fifth and competed between fourth and seventh positions until a caution on lap 261 brought the car in for the last pit stop of the day. A 14.35 second stop put Marlin out in fourth position for the restart.

Marlin charged to the front took over third position on lap 307. With the No. 29 of Kevin Harvick closing in, Marlin charged forward to catch the first and second position cars of Jerry Nadeau and Bobby Labonte respectively. Taking the white flag on lap 324, Marlin looked to be headed for a third place finish until Nadeau ran out of gas in Turn 4 of the last lap. Labonte took the win with Marlin in second place.

“ We were in the middle of three and four and I heard (Tony) Glover (team manager) screaming,” Marlin said of the final lap. “ When we came off four, I saw Nadeau wiggle his car. I guess we beat him four or five car lengths.”

“ This is a great car. I’ve never had one like this. We’re going to clone a bunch of them for next year. The guys did a great job, and we had a good car in practice yesterday in the last practice. Nadeau looked like he had it won and ran out of gas. I know it breaks his heart. That’s another top-5 for us, so we’ll take it.”

Lee McCall, crew chief of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge, was pleased with weekend results.

“ We had a good day today,” McCall said. “ We weren’t very good on short runs. We were really good on long runs. We had great pit stops, and #115 (chassis) came through with another top-5. We were really good at the end. We were catching everybody but the No. 25. We did what we had to do. We made up some points on the 20, 88, 28 and the 8, so we had a good day.”

Next on the schedule for the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge team is the New Hampshire 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Friday, Nov. 23.

-CGR-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Jerry Nadeau