The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Auto Racing

August 17, 2006

After blowing two engines, Marlin leaves Watkins Glen frustrated

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — After blowing an engine in practice and another while qualifying, Sterling Marlin was more than ready to say goodbye to Watkins Glen International. And when he was caught up in a multicar crash late in Sunday’s road race at The Glen and finished 39th in the 43-car field, the despair sank to a new low.

“I hate it for MB2 Motorsports,” said the 49-year-old Marlin, in his first year driving the No. 14 Waste Management Chevrolet for team owner Bobby Ginn. “I had a decent car, but it would be nice if they’d put Rockingham right in this place right here.”

The result left Marlin’s team teetering on the brink of falling out of the top 35 in owner points — his team sits 35th, just 16 points ahead of Ray Evernham’s No. 19 car. That’s a big deal because anybody outside the top 35 is not guaranteed a starting spot each week.

“It’s aggravating,” said Marlin, who has just one top-10 finish and five DNFs this season and dislikes road racing as much as any of the drivers who don’t do so well turning right. “It takes a whole lot of luck and a good race team to compete at this level.”

Just four years ago, Marlin had that special team driving the Coors Light Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, and it showed on the track. After finishing third in points the previous year for the second time in his career, Marlin led the points race for 25 consecutive weeks in 2002 and gave Ganassi a real shot at winning his first Cup title.

“Nobody really thought we could do it. Week in and week out we’d run top five, top 10 no problem,” said Marlin, who has 10 victories in his Cup career. “We ran so good. It was pretty neat for my dad. He didn’t really say a whole lot about it. He just stayed kind of quiet, and I was wanting us to win it bad.”

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