Talladega: Sterling Marlin race report

The Coors Light/Kentucky Derby Dodge Rears Back Before the Finish Line TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin's bid for a top-10 finish at Talladega Superspeedway went flat on lap 146 when the left rear tire went flat and the...

The Coors Light/Kentucky Derby Dodge Rears Back Before the Finish Line

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin's bid for a top-10 finish at Talladega Superspeedway went flat on lap 146 when the left rear tire went flat and the team discovered a hole in the radiator.

"The screen in front of the radiator came loose," Marlin said. "Something went through the radiator and here we sit. We were running fourth or fifth when it happened, and I guess we cut a tire down about the same time. I'm lucky I slowed down. It started missing, and I got in turn three and almost wrecked. I had a flat tire and a hole in the radiator at the same time, and it's hard to win like that."

After starting the Aaron's 499 from the ninth position, Marlin was quickly shuffled out of the draft and was 19th when the first caution came out on lap three. The Coors Light/Kentucky Derby Dodge quickly galloped to the front of the pack and on lap 15 was able to take the lead and hold on to it for just two laps.

Marlin continued to run in the top five and when the yellow flag waved for the second time on lap 21, was running in the second spot behind teammate Casey Mears. Marlin radioed that the car was tight in the middle of three and four. So the Coors Light crew made a quick two tire pit stop and made a slight air pressure adjustment and restarted the race in the third position.

By lap 52, Marlin had dropped back to 21st and was reporting that the "car plows in the middle of three and four." The Coors Light/Kentucky Derby Dodge continued to run in the back of the field for the next 15 laps. When the caution came out on lap 67, Marlin let the Coors Light crew know that it felt like both front tires were gone so they made a four tire, fuel and another air pressure adjustment.

Marlin was able to work his way up to 11th by lap 79 and drafted into the top 10 on lap 81. The Coors Light/Kentucky Derby Dodge was able to bounce around in the top-15 for the next 65 laps and had gotten as high as second when the car experienced some trouble. The left rear tire had gone flat and was also running hot so Marlin brought the car down pit road when crew chief Lee McCall noticed that water was leaking. The Coors Light crew discovered a hole in the front of the radiator and proceeded to bring the car into the garage.

The Coors Light/Kentucky Derby Dodge ended the day with a 30th-place finish in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Marlin currently sits 14th in the NEXTEL Cup championship points just 80 points out of the top 10. Ganassi teammates Mears and Jamie McMurray finished eighth and ninth respectively.

The Coors Light team races at California Speedway next weekend. The Auto Club 500 will be broadcast live on FOX and MRN radio on Sunday, May 2nd.

-cgr-

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