||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
Marlin in 1996
June 30, 1957 |
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)|
|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)|
Sterling Marlin (born June 30, 1957) is an American stock car racing driver. Now retired, he formerly competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, winning the Daytona 500 in 1994 and 1995. 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.
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.
In 1983, Marlin was hired by Roger Hamby to drive his #17 Hesco Exhaust-sponsored 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-sponsored 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-sponsored 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-sponsored Chevrolet owned by Fred Turner.
Marlin signed to drive the #22 Maxwell House-sponsored 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-sponsored 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-sponsored 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 2 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 25th in the final standings. He left the #4 team at year's end.
In 1998, he joined SABCO Racing to drive the #40 Coors Light-sponsored 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 10 six times and had a 13th-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 10 seven times, he fell back to 19th 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. 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 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 2nd-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 9th 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.
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 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). At the New Hampshire 300 the next week Marlin lost the points lead as Martin finished four places ahead of him, gaining 15 points. The next week, Marlin dropped to 4th in the standings after a 21st-place finish at Dover.
One week later, at the Protection One 400 at Kansas, Marlin had a hard crash after 147 laps and finished 33rd. 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 5's and ten Top 10's. 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 5 in 2003, but had 11 Top 10 and matched his previous year's finish of 18th 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 5's 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-sponsored 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 6th 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 9th place at Richmond. His 2006 season was shadowed by bad luck and #14 finished 36th in owner points.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points
Sprint Cup Series
|Year||Starts||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Poles||Avg. Start||Avg. Finish||Winnings||Position||Team(s)|
#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 MB2 Motorsports
#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|
Daytona 500 results
|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|
- Willis, Matthew (2008-09-13). "Ancient Chaseology: 2000-2003". ESPN. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
- "NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "Nascar.Com". Nascar.Com. 2002-09-07. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "Nascar.Com". Nascar.Com. 2002-09-29. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "Press Box: Former NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin has Parkinsonism". Yahoo! Sports. 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2012-10-29.
- "Nashville Superspeedway & Fairgrounds Track News/Rumors". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Tennessee Racing Association, LLC. December 1, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- "Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville - Current Standings". Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
|Daytona 500 Winner
|NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year