NASCAR Winston Cup CMT 300 Preview: #4, Sterling Marlin
10 September 1997
#4 Sterling Marlin, Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR Winston Cup Series CMT 300 Advance New Hampshire International Speedway STERLING MARLIN NOTES & QUOTES: CMT 300 'Stuff happens but there's been a lot of bad stuff this year' LOUDON, NH - Bad luck continues to plague Sterling Marlin and the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team but they head to New Hampshire International Speedway this week hoping, again, to toss the proverbial monkey from their backs. The CMT 300 at the 1.058-mile oval is the next race on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule. At Richmond this past week a broken axle sidelined the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet for more than 60 laps in the 400-lap event, and Marlin finished 39th in a car that seemed destined for at least a top-10 finish. The freak axle problem joined an ever-increasing list of bizarre problems the team has faced this season. The now infamous screwdriver-through-the-radiator in Darlington, S.C., in the spring apparently was just the beginning of the strange misfortunes to affect the team this year. There was the groundhog running through the timing lights during Marlin's qualifying run at Pocono, Pa.; two races where "invisible" debris shredded tires within the first 10 laps of a race; an engine that led at Bristol, lost a cylinder, retook the lead and dropped a second cylinder; the list seems endless. Marlin 40, is 10th among career money-winners in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. While the Columbia, Tenn., native will be replaced in the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet by driver Bobby Hamilton in 1998, Marlin and the team have dedicated themselves to finishing the 1997 season on a high note. The thoughts of Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet driver Sterling Marlin heading into New Hampshire: "We've just about resigned ourselves to bad luck. We're just working harder and harder every week to get over it and to not let it get us down. "I guess what we ought to do is make a list of everything bad that hasn't happened to us yet this season. That way we can check them off when they happen the rest of the year. "We've all tried to put this bad luck thing behind us and figure a way of it, but it gets downright spooky sometimes. Who would have figured a broken axle at Richmond? Then again, who would have figured a screwdriver spearing the radiator at Darlington or a groundhog trying to commit Hari-Kari at Pocono? "We keep working hard and it's paid off a lot of times. Hey, the worst possible things that could have happened to us happened at Dover (June) and Daytona (July). We cut a tire early in the race, and lost two laps at Dover and a lap at Daytona. That'll make you next to suicidal to lose laps at those places so early in the race but we came back both places with decent finishes. We made up the lap at Daytona and finished third. We didn't make up any laps at Dover but everybody worked hard all day and we finished 10th. "The only thing we can figure is to keep working hard and hope things work out for us. It just seems everything that can go wrong has gone wrong this year. It would be a lot easier if it was somebody's fault or you could point fingers or find a way to blame something. But it's not those kind of things. Who are you going to blame when some other team leaves a screwdriver laying around? Who are you going to point fingers at when the groundhog does the laser-light dance? What do you say when the track spends all morning blowing the surface clean and you end up running over something anyway? "There isn't anybody to blame. Stuff happens. Good stuff happens, bad stuff happens. We're just getting more than our share of bad stuff this year. Those little gremlins crawling over that Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet have had some fun with us so far this year but we're bound and determined to thrash those little critters before the year is out. I'd really like to take a baseball bat and beat the stuffing out of every one of them but I guess that isn't practical. So we'll keep working harder and harder and doing whatever we have to do to overcome this. "That will happen. Believe me. These guys haven't forgotten how to win. There are still plenty of wins left in them. I just want to make sure they pick up their next couple of them while I'm still behind the wheel. Our goals are pretty straight forward the rest of the year. We want to pick up the pieces and finish this thing up on a high note, as high a note as we can." By Williams Company of America, Inc.