Joliet II: Sterling Marlin race report

Accident in Kansas drops Marlin in points. Coors Light Dodge drops to fifth in Winston Cup championship points. KANSAS CITY, KS (September 29, 2002) - Sterling Marlin was involved in a mid-race accident in the Protection One 400 at Kansas...

Accident in Kansas drops Marlin in points.
Coors Light Dodge drops to fifth in Winston Cup championship points.

KANSAS CITY, KS (September 29, 2002) - Sterling Marlin was involved in a mid-race accident in the Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway that put his car out of the race finishing 33rd. Marlin lost another position in the Winston Cup Championship points race and currently sits in fifth position behind Jeff Gordon in fourth. Jimmie Johnson leads the points race with Mark Martin 11 points behind him in second.

Marlin started the 267-lap race in seventh position but the Coors Light fell back a few positions within the first 18 laps. Marlin was in 13th position on lap 18 when the team pitted during a caution period and made air pressure and track bar adjustments to tighten the car. Marlin came in again on lap 30 and lap 31 to unhook the rear sway bar from the suspension and add wedge. By this time Marlin had dropped back to 30th position. Marlin radioed in that the changes helped a lot and he began his climb back up through the pack.

Marlin moved his way up to 18th position on lap 67; 12th on lap 90; and 10th on lap 138. The Coors Light Dodge was running in eighth position when Marlin was involved in an accident on lap 147. Marlin checked up when the No. 14 lapped car blocked him. The No. 99 got into the Coors Light Dodge exiting turn 2, sending Marlin into the wall. The day was complete for the Coors Light team leaving them with a 33rd place finish and dropping another position in the championship points race.

"I think it probably hit harder than Richmond, but it probably pulled some soreness out," Marlin said after exiting the infield care center. "I'm not near as sore now as I was at the start of the race."

"I think the 99 got into us," Marlin said about the accident. "It was just hard racing. I had to check up and he hit us, but we had a good car. We were pretty good on long runs. I hate it for the Coors Light Dodge. It was just hard racing and that's part of it. Our car was as good as anybody's today.

"It really hurts today (in points race). I thought today with the way the car was running we had a good top-five car and we could have gained back a good bit. Mark (Martin) was having trouble, and we might could have outrun Tony (Stewart) and Jeff (Gordon). We've had some terrible luck the past few weeks. We'll get over it. We had a good first half of the year and we'll work hard the rest of the year and see what happens."

Owner Chip Ganassi was optimistic about the weekend but disappointed with the team's current run of bad luck.

"We haven't been helping ourselves at all the last three or four weeks," Ganassi said. "Finally today we get hooked up and we get in trouble with the lapped car. You've got to be in position to take advantage of good breaks and you've got to be in position when you have a bad break for it not to affect you. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we're in that position right now. He said the 14 checked up and he had no place to go. I don't know if we're out of it (championship), but we're in a position where we.... You have to be in a position to win the championship. Right now, we're in a position where bad luck hurts us."

Jeff Gordon won the Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway. Next on the schedule for the No. 40 Coors Light team is the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 6, 2002.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Sterling Marlin , Jimmie Johnson , Chip Ganassi , Mark Martin