Talladega II: Sterling Marlin race report

The Coors Light/Rascal Flatts Dodge Finishes 34th at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala., (October 4, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin's bid for a top five finish at Talladega Superspeedway hit the wall on lap 177, just 11 laps short of the checkered flag,...

The Coors Light/Rascal Flatts Dodge Finishes 34th at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala., (October 4, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin's bid for a top five finish at Talladega Superspeedway hit the wall on lap 177, just 11 laps short of the checkered flag, when contact with another car sent Marlin spinning.

"There was a car out there trying to decide if it was going to pit or not," Marlin said. "It cut up and ran us into the wall and the 18 got into me. We were just riding around saving fuel. I think we had the only car that could make it on fuel, so we were headed for a good finish. It was just a dumb move on his part. That's about all you can say."

After starting the EA Sports 500 in the 32nd position, Marlin quickly found the fastest drafting lane as he veered to the outside and drafted three-wide up to 13th by lap three. Marlin continued to try out the three lanes of drafting while figuring which one his car worked best in when he got shuffled back to 27th on lap 13. Marlin radioed that the car was starting to get tight and he was struggling to hang on to the draft.

Marlin had dropped back to 36th when the first caution came out on lap 29 for debris. The Coors Light crew decided to put on four fresh tires, gas up the car and put a rubber in the right rear. After two more trips down pit road for minor adjustments, the Coors Light/Rascal Flatts Dodge restarted 40th on lap 34.

The Silver Bullet quickly caught the lead draft and began making its way back up through the field with various drafting partners. Marlin had made up 13 positions when the second yellow flag waved and this time the Coors Light crew made a slight air pressure adjustment while they also put on four fresh Goodyear's and added fuel.

The Coors Light/Rascal Flatts Dodge got a jump on the restart and broke into the top 10 by lap 74. For the next 20 laps, Marlin rode around in the top 10 until his green-flag pit stop on lap 94. After a quick four tire and fuel pit stop the Silver Bullet returned to the track in the 17th spot.

By lap 133, Marlin was in the sixth spot and working his way to the front when the yellow flag came out on lap 143. The Coors Light/Rascal Flatts Dodge took on four tires and fuel before returning to the track 23rd. While Marlin rode around toward the back of the field conserving fuel, many teams prepared to come down pit road to top off their fuel with about 10 laps to go.

However, contact with the No. 77 on lap 177 sent Marlin and the No. 40 Dodge up the track into the No. 18. After a quick ride and visit to the infield care center, Marlin was released and credited with a 34th-place finish.

Marlin's 34th-place finish dropped him to 19th in the NEXTEL Cup championship points. Ganassi teammates Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray finished eighth and 17th respectively.

The Coors Light crew heads to Kansas Speedway next weekend for the Banquet 400. The race will be broadcast on NBC television and MRN radio.

-cgr-

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