Sterling Marlin

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Sterling Marlin
SterlingMarlinExitingCar1996.jpg
Marlin in 1996
Born (1957-06-30) June 30, 1957 (age 57)
Columbia, Tennessee, U.S.
Achievements 1994, 1995 Daytona 500 Winner
1996 Winston 500 Winner
1980–1982 Nashville Speedway USA Track Champion
Awards 1983 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
1995, 1996 Tennessee Professional Athlete of the Year
2002 Tennessee Professional Athlete of the Year Nominee
Fairgrounds Speedway Hall of Fame (2009)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
748 races run over 33 years
Best finish 3rd (1995, 2001)
First race 1976 Music City USA 420 (Nashville)
Last race 2009 Tums Fast Relief 500 (Martinsville)
First win 1994 Daytona 500 (Daytona)
Last win 2002 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 (Darlington)
Wins Top tens Poles
10 216 11
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
77 races run over 17 years
Best finish 29th (2005)
First race 1986 Winn-Dixie 300 (Charlotte)
Last race 2008 Pepsi 300 (Nashville)
First win 1990 All Pro 300 (Charlotte)
Last win 2000 Cheez-It 250 (Bristol)
Wins Top tens Poles
2 22 1

Sterling Marlin (born June 30, 1957) is a American stock car racing driver. Now retired, he formerly competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, winning the 1994 and 1995 Daytona 500s. He is the son of late NASCAR driver Coo Coo Marlin. He is married to Paula and has a daughter, Sutherlin, and a son, Steadman, a former Nationwide Series driver.

Beginnings[edit]

Marlin attended Spring Hill High School, where he played high school basketball and football, earning the captain status his senior year while he played quarterback and linebacker. He began his collection of civil war artifacts shortly after high school. In 1976, he made his NASCAR debut at Nashville Speedway, filling in for his injured father in the #14 H.B. Cunningham Chevrolet. He started 30th and finished 29th after suffering oil pump failure early in the race. He made two more starts in 1978, finishing ninth at World 600 and twenty-fifth at Nashville for Cunningham. He ran Nashville again in 1979, finishing seventeenth. In 1980, he posted two top-tens, eighth in the Daytona 500 for Cunningham, and seventh at Nashville for D.K. Ulrich. From 1980 to 1982, Marlin was a three-time track champion at the historic Nashville Speedway USA.

1983–1990[edit]

1983 Rookie of the Year car

In 1983, Marlin was hired by Roger Hamby to drive his #17 Hesco Exhaust Chevrolet. He posted a tenth-place finish at Dover International Speedway and finished 19th in the standings, clinching the Rookie of the Year award. Despite finishing 15th in the 1984 Daytona 500 for Hamby, Marlin spent most of the season running for Sadler Brothers Racing, posting two top-ten finishes. He also competed in one race for Jimmy Means and Dick Bahre respectively. Marlin only made eight starts in 1985, seven of them coming for Sadler, his best finish being 12th at Talladega Superspeedway. He ended his season at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Miller High Life 500, driving the Helen Rae Special. He finished 29th, after suffering flywheel failure.

Marlin moved over to the #1 Bull's Eye Barbecue Sauce car owned by Hoss Ellington in 1986. His best finish that season came at the Firecracker 400, where he finished second. Marlin received a full-time ride in 1987, when he was hired by Billy Hagan to drive the #44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile. He had four top-fives and finished 11th in points. The following season, he had seven finishes of eighth or better in the first ten races and finished tenth in the standings. In 1989, the team received sponsorship from Sunoco and switched to the number 94. He tied a career-best 13 top-ten finishes but dropped to 12th in the final standings. He left the team at the end of the 1990 season. During the 1990 season, he won his first career Busch Series race at Charlotte, driving the #48 Diamond Ridge Chevrolet owned by Fred Turner.

1991–1997[edit]

1997 car at Pocono

Marlin signed to drive the #22 Maxwell House Ford Thunderbird for Junior Johnson in 1991. He had a second-place finish at Daytona to start the season and won two poles at Talladega Superspeedway and the Firecracker 400, finishing seventh in the standings. The next season, he won an additional five poles and had six top-five finishes. Despite his career-high pole total, Marlin departed to drive the #8 Raybestos Ford for Stavola Brothers Racing. He had just one top-five finish and fell to fourteenth in the standings.

Marlin's first career win came in his 279th career start at the 1994 Daytona 500 driving for Morgan-McClure Motorsports in the #4 Kodak car. He went on to win the 500 again in the following year, becoming only one of three drivers to win consecutive Daytona 500s. The other two men that have accomplished that feat were Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough. He also became the only driver to have his first two career wins at the Daytona 500. Marlin won two more times during the 1995 season and finished a career high third in the point standings, during a four-year run with Morgan-McClure Motorsports. In 1997, he did not return to victory lane and dropped to twenty-fifth in the final standings. He left the #4 team at year's end.

1998–2006[edit]

In 1998, he joined SABCO Racing to drive the #40 Coors Light Chevrolet. He opened the season by winning the Gatorade 125, a qualifying race for the Daytona 500, but three weeks later, he failed to qualify for the Primestar 500, the first race he had missed since 1986. He finished in the top-ten six times and had a thirteenth-place points finish. In 1999, he won his first pole since 1995 at Pocono Raceway, but dropped down to sixteenth in the standings. In 2000, he won his second career Busch Series race, driving SABCO's #82 entry at Bristol Motor Speedway. During the season, he lost teammate Kenny Irwin, Jr. in a practice crash at New Hampshire International Speedway. After finishing in the top-ten seven times, he fell back to nineteenth in the overall standings.

In 2001, SABCO's majority ownership stake was purchased by CART (now IRL) championship owner Chip Ganassi and the team switched to Dodge Intrepids. In his first race with the new team, Marlin won the Gatorade 125 qualifying race at Daytona. Three days later at the Daytona 500, Marlin appeared to make contact with Dale Earnhardt, causing Earnhardt to crash into the Turn 4 wall, an impact that would kill him. In the following days, Marlin and his family received hate mail and death threats from angry fans who felt that Marlin was responsible for Earnhardt's death. He was eventually publicly defended by two of Earnhardt's drivers, his son and Michael Waltrip, and was also cleared of any wrongdoing by NASCAR's investigation into the accident. He won Dodge's first race in its return to NASCAR at Michigan International Speedway, as well as winning the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte. He tied his career best points finish of third that season. Had the current Chase points system been in place in 2001, Marlin would have been the 2001 champion.[1] In 2002, Marlin had a strong car at the Daytona 500, and towards the end was battling Jeff Gordon for the lead when they made contact, sending Gordon spinning, and triggering a crash. NASCAR red-flagged the race so it would not finish under caution, and stopped the field momentarily on the backstretch. Concerned about a damaged right front fender, Marlin jumped out of his car and started pulling the fender away from the tire. As working on the car is prohibited during red flag conditions, Marlin was sent to the tail end of the field for the restart.

The following week, Marlin finished second in Rockingham to Matt Kenseth. Marlin took the points lead[2] and did not let it go for the following 24 weeks. For most of that time he held a comfortable lead, which reached triple digits several times. Marlin followed this second place finish with a win at the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but not without controversy: During the race, Marlin spun while making late race pit stop, causing him to break the pit road speed limit. NASCAR's penalty for being too fast entering pit road was to hold the car in its pit stall for an additional 15 seconds, but the official at Marlin's pit stall was not informed of the penalty until after the crew had released the car. NASCAR determined that they had no precedent for forcing Marlin to return to the pits as his early release was their mistake (and they could not order him to return for a stop and go penalty). Following the incident, NASCAR changed the rule so that all speeding violations are enforced with a drive through penalty (forcing the driver to travel the length of pit road at the speed limit).

After this win, Marlin finished ninth the following week at Atlanta. The week after that, he won the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway, which would be the final win of his Cup career.

#14 Marlin battles #55 Michael Waltrip at the 2006 spring Bristol race.

With a series of strong finishes (7th at Texas, 5th at Talladega, 7th at California, 4th in June at Pocono, 3rd at Daytona, 3rd at the second Pocono race, 6th at Michigan in August, 7th at Bristol, and 4th at Darlington in the fall), Marlin was still 91 points ahead of second place entering the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 in September. However, Marlin finished that race in last place after an early accident[3] and saw his points lead all but evaporate as Mark Martin, who had entered the race 125 points behind Marlin, gained 116 points and moved into second place in the points as Marlin's lead shrunk to nine points (Jeff Gordon, who had leapfrogged Martin for second place in the standings with a win the week before, also gained on Marlin but dropped to fourth due to the strong finishes from both Martin and Jimmie Johnson, who gained 95 points on Marlin to move into third).[4] At the New Hampshire 300 the next week Marlin lost the points lead as Martin finished four places ahead of him, gaining 15 points.[4] The next week Marlin dropped to fourth in the standings after a 21st place finish at Dover.[4]

One week later, at the Protection One 400 at Kansas, Marlin had a hard crash after 147 laps and finished 33rd.[5] He was diagnosed with a cracked vertebra in his neck and would be forced to miss the remaining seven races. Marlin was replaced by Busch Series driver Jamie McMurray, who had recently been signed by Chip Ganassi Racing to drive for the team in the 2003 season. McMurray won the UAW-GM Quality 500 in his second start with Marlin's car, and Marlin telephoned McMurray during the post-race festivities to congratulate him. Marlin ultimately finished 18th in the final season points with eight top fives and ten top tens. It has been rumored that the broken neck signified the beginning of the struggles for Chip Ganassi Racing and the beginning of the dissolving of Sterling Marlin's career in motorsports.

Marlin did not finish in the top-five in 2003, but had 11 top-tens and matched his previous year's finish of eighteenth in points. He did however come close to a win at the 2003 Sharpie 500 at his hometown in Bristol Tennessee. Marlin controlled the race early and mid-way and appeared to have victory in his hands until he was wrecked by Kurt Busch with less than 150 laps to go. Kurt Busch went on to win the race but apologized in victory lane. Sterling Marlin however wasn't pleased with Busch in post-race ceremonies, stating "What a bone-headed move. I guess Spencer didn't punch him hard enough.", as a reference to Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer's altercation the previous week.

Despite three top-fives in 2004, he fell to 21st in points. During the 2005 season, Ganassi announced Marlin would be replaced by David Stremme for the 2006 season in order to attract the younger male demographic. It was also said that Richard Childress Racing had offered Marlin a deal to drive the #07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet, However, Marlin honored his contract with Ganassi and finished out the 2005 season. He did however miss one race-the 2005 Sirius at the Glen to attend the funeral of his father Coo Coo Marlin who died of lung cancer one day before the race. Road ringer Scott Pruett replaced Sterling in the 40 and finished 4th in the race.

He reached as high as sixth in the points standings, but would later fall to 30th in the final standings.

Marlin joined MB2 Motorsports for 2006 to drive the Waste Management Chevy, running with the #14 in tribute to his father, Coo Coo Marlin, who died during the 2005 season. Marlin's only Top 10 finish in 2006 was ninth place finish at Richmond. His 2006 season was shadowed by bad luck and #14 finished 36th in owner points.

2007–2010[edit]

Marlin was able to qualify via speed for each of the first five races of the 2007 season, his Pep Boys #14 team was the only team out of the top 35 from 2006 to do this. Marlin's run in the #14 ended on July 17, 2007, when Ginn Racing announced Regan Smith, who had been splitting time with Mark Martin in Ginn's U.S. Army-sponsored #01 car, would replace him beginning at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis. He attempted to qualify for two races in 2007, but he failed to qualify for either. He tried to make the Sharpie 500 at Bristol in the #78 car as a replacement for Kenny Wallace, and the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega, replacing Mike Wallace in the #09 car. However in November he managed to qualify the #09 and drove at Phoenix for a 25th place finish, and a week later at Homestead finishing 33rd.

Marlin failed to qualify for the 2008 Daytona 500 in the #09 car, but qualified at Talladega and the following week at Richmond as well. For Darlington, Marlin raced in his old #40 car and qualified 14th, and also at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the #40, still in for the injured Dario Franchitti. He finished out the rest of the season driving for Phoenix Racing. In March 2009, Marlin participated in and won the Saturday Night Special, a charity event at Bristol Motor Speedway which included NASCAR Legends. He led the entire event in a car painted similar to the one he drove with Morgan McClure Motorsports, and wearing an older-style Coors Light uniform from his days while driving for Chip Ganassi.

#09 Cup racecar in 2008

For the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Marlin continued to run a limited schedule in the #09 Phoenix Racing Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Chevrolet. His best finish for the 2009 season was 35th at Martinsville, which also proved the last of his 748 career starts.

An announcement was made preceding the Cup Series finale weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway that Marlin would attempt the race in the #70 Chevrolet for TRG Motorsports, though Marlin later denied it.

Retirement[edit]

Marlin announced his retirement from racing on March 18, 2010 and currently owns a Dodge dealership in Dickson, Tennessee. In 2012, Marlin publicly revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinsonism.[6]

Presently[edit]

In late 2011, Marlin helped form Tennessee Racing Association, LLC, along with several other drivers (including Chad Chaffin and Mike Alexander) and businessmen, in an effort to preserve Fairgrounds Speedway and allow the track to remain active in the racing community.[7]

Although he is retired from NASCAR competition, Marlin still remains an active driver in the Pro Late Model Division at Fairgrounds Speedway. He currently leads the point standings in that division to go along with his two victories in 2013, driving the No. 40 car.[8]

Career results[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Year Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Avg. Start Avg. Finish Winnings Position Team(s)
1976 1 0 0 0 0 30.0 29.0 $565 101st #14 Cunningham-Kelly
1978 2 0 0 1 0 7.0 17.0 $10,320 69th #14 Cunningham-Kelly
1979 1 0 0 0 0 14.0 15.0 $505 86th #14 Cunningham-Kelly
1980 5 0 0 2 0 30.4 15.6 $29,810 49th #14 Cunningham-Kelly
#5 Jim Stacy Racing
#40 Ulrich Racing
1981 2 0 0 0 0 27.5 27.0 $1,955 93rd #99 Ulrich Racing
#14 Marlin Racing
1982 1 0 0 0 0 32.0 23.0 $3,615 115th #41 Matthews Racing
1983 30 0 0 1 0 24.6 21.2 $148,252 19th #17 Hamby Racing
1984 14 0 0 2 0 26.6 25.7 $54,355 37th #10 Hamby Racing
#23 Bahre Racing
#95 Sadler Brothers Racing
#52 Means Racing
1985 8 0 0 0 0 21.0 24.5 $31,155 37th #95 Sadler Brothers Racing
#00 Helen Rae Motorsports
1986 10 0 2 4 0 11.6 22.8 $113,070 36th #1 Ellington Racing
1987 29 0 4 8 0 17.3 16.3 $306,412 11th #44 Hagan Racing
1988 29 0 6 13 0 14.1 14.3 $521,464 10th #44 Hagan Racing
1989 29 0 4 13 0 12.9 16.1 $473,267 12th #94 Hagan Racing
1990 29 0 5 10 0 15.3 16.4 $369,167 14th #94 Hagan Racing
1991 29 0 7 16 2 14.3 11.8 $633,690 7th #22 Junior Johnson & Associates
1992 29 0 6 13 5 13.0 14.4 $649,048 10th #22 Junior Johnson & Associates
1993 30 0 1 8 0 19.2 18.0 $628,835 15th #8 Stavola Brothers Racing
1994 31 1 5 11 1 15.5 18.7 $1,127,683 14th #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports
1995 31 3 9 22 1 13.4 9.8 $2,253,502 3rd #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports
1996 31 2 5 10 0 17.8 16.3 $1,588,245 8th #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports
1997 32 0 2 6 0 20.7 24.2 $1,301,370 25th #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports
1998 32 0 0 6 0 19.5 18.1 $1,350,161 13th #40 Team SABCO
1999 34 0 2 5 1 20.5 21.7 $1,797,416 16th #40 Team SABCO
2000 34 0 1 7 0 26.7 21.9 $1,992,301 19th #40 Team SABCO
2001 36 2 12 20 1 15.4 13.0 $4,517,634 3rd #40 Chip Ganassi Racing
2002 29 2 8 14 0 20.5 13.9 $4,228,889 18th #40 Chip Ganassi Racing
2003 36 0 0 11 0 21.4 20.4 $4,384,491 18th #40 Chip Ganassi Racing
2004 36 0 3 7 0 22.3 19.5 $4,457,443 21st #40 Chip Ganassi Racing
2005 35 0 1 5 0 26.5 24.6 $4,080,118 30th #40 Chip Ganassi Racing
2006 36 0 0 1 0 23.9 28.2 $3,248,034 34th #14 Ginn Racing
2007 21 0 0 0 0 28.6 26.8 $2,057,690 40th #14 Ginn Racing
#09 Phoenix Racing
2008 9 0 0 0 0 23.9 33.2 $719,795 51st #09 Phoenix Racing
#40 Chip Ganassi Racing
2009 7 0 0 0 0 39.6 39.3 $493,720 53rd #09 Phoenix Racing

NASCAR Nationwide Series[edit]

Year Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Avg. Start Avg. Finish Winnings Position Team(s)
1986 1 0 0 0 0 29.0 29.0 $830 133rd #69 Hagan Racing
1988 4 0 0 0 0 19.2 17.2 $6,406 46th #44 Hagan Racing
1989 2 0 0 0 0 17.5 32.0 $12,475 77th #48 Hagan Racing
1990 5 1 2 2 0 16.8 14.6 $81,690 48th #48 Fred Turner Racing
1992 2 0 1 1 0 15.0 21.5 $13,169 73rd #10 Fred Turner Racing
1993 8 0 1 2 0 28.1 18.8 $36,493 41st #48 Fred Turner Racing
1994 9 0 1 3 0 21.9 25.0 $49,680 44th #4 Fred Turner Racing
1995 1 0 0 0 0 7.0 36.0 $2,085 106th #22 Fred Turner Racing
1996 2 0 1 1 1 8.5 12.5 $31,285 60th #22 Fred Turner Racing
#92 Martin Racing
1997 3 0 0 0 0 27.0 22.7 $17,020 69th #92 Martin Racing
#4 Phoenix Racing
1998 5 0 0 2 0 25.0 22.0 $35,649 58th #1 Sterling Marlin Racing
1999 7 0 1 3 0 9.4 18.7 $67,565 54th #42 Joe Gibbs Racing
#14 Sterling Marlin Racing
2000 4 1 2 3 0 15.0 14.0 $56,575 62nd #82/#01 Team SABCO
2004 2 0 0 0 0 28.5 29.0 $36,458 102nd #1 Phoenix Racing
2005 19 0 3 5 0 23.6 20.5 $408,295 29th #40/#12 FitzBradshaw Racing
2007 2 0 0 0 0 13.5 20.5 $39,605 106th #1 Phoenix Racing
2008 1 0 0 0 0 20.0 22.0 $25,284 118th #1 Phoenix Racing

Daytona 500 Results[edit]

Year Manufacturer Start Finish Team
1980 Chevrolet 36 8 Cunningham-Kelley
1983 33 34 Roger Hamby
1984 40 15
1985 20 16 Sadler
1986 8 9 Ellington
1987 Oldsmobile 10 30 Hagan
1988 12 8
1989 6 11
1990 21 19
1991 Ford 12 2 Johnson
1992 1 35
1993 14 9 Stavola
1994 Chevrolet 4 1 Morgan-McClure
1995 3 1
1996 3 40
1997 9 5
1998 3 22 Team SABCO
1999 17 32
2000 38 24
2001 Dodge 3 7 Ganassi
2002 13 8
2003 7 17
2004 4 37
2005 18 8
2006 Chevrolet 39 34 Ginn
2007 38 17
2008 DNQ Phoenix

References[edit]

  1. ^ Willis, Matthew (2008-09-13). "Ancient Chaseology: 2000-2003". ESPN. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  2. ^ "NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  3. ^ "Nascar.Com". Nascar.Com. 2002-09-07. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  4. ^ a b c "NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  5. ^ "Nascar.Com". Nascar.Com. 2002-09-29. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  6. ^ "Press Box: Former NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin has Parkinsonism". Yahoo! Sports. 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  7. ^ "Nashville Superspeedway & Fairgrounds Track News/Rumors". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Tennessee Racing Association, LLC. December 1, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville - Current Standings". Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dale Jarrett
Daytona 500 Winner
1994, 1995
Succeeded by
Dale Jarrett