NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 Preview -- #4, Sterling Martin
24 July 1997
#4 Sterling Marlin, Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR Winston Cup Series Brickyard 400 Advance Indianapolis Motor Speedway STERLING MARLIN NOTES & QUOTES: BRICKYARD 400 'It wasn't Daytona but we knew it was big' INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Driver Sterling Marlin and the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team head next to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for what has become one of NASCAR's biggest - and most important - events of the year. The Brickyard 400 will be in its fourth season next week, and Marlin hopes to join Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett as a winner at the famed speedway. A win would be the tonic the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team could use right now. Piles of misfortune and enough bad luck to fill the crawl space under a million ladders have plagued the team this season. When able to overcome misfortune, they have shone - coming from a lap down after five laps at Daytona to finish third in the July Pepsi 400, for example; and coming from a lap down after cutting a tire on the second lap to finish 10th in the May Dover event. The team has constantly overcome adversity not of its own making. With the unkind luck that has plagued the team this season, few would be surprised Marlin is the 13th-ranked NASCAR driver at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His winnings of $236,080 and his best finish of seventh place him there. He was 39th a year ago after getting caught up in an accident with Kyle Petty early in the event. Son of long-time NASCAR veteran Coo Coo Marlin, Sterling grew up on the Winston Cup tracks, helping his father when and where he could. His big break came when he joined Morgan-McClure Motorsports to drive the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet at the beginning of the 1994 season. Out of the box, he won the Daytona 500 and has added five other race victories since then, including the 1995 Daytona 500. The thoughts of Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet driver Sterling Marlin heading into Indianapolis: "Just like everybody else in racing, I grew up with Indianapolis. It's just that it wasn't always first on my list. When you're a kid and especially when you're a kid who's the son of a stock car racer, you think of Daytona and Darlington and Charlotte. Indianapolis is another place and another thing. You know it's important and you know it's important in racing but how can it compare? We knew it wasn't Daytona but we knew it was big. "I mean, when I was a kid, you just couldn't do any better than win at Nashville. Sure, maybe somebody won the Indianapolis 500 but that wasn't any big deal. Let him come out to Nashville and beat Daddy and those guys out there. Then I would believe he was something special. "I guess you're thinking tends to change as you get older. You start realizing that big things really are big things. Indianapolis is definitely a big thing. Sure, I'd love to try it sometime in an Indy car. I never thought the day would come when me or anybody else would drive the place in a stock car. I'd never even been inside the place until NASCAR first came here. It was pretty impressive four years ago and it's pretty impressive now. Indianapolis is one of those tracks that is just as awesome when you're standing still as when you're going around it at 175 miles per hour. "We're going to attack the place. I don't think there is any other way to race there. You sure can't be tentative. You have to go at it aggressively. Now, 'aggressive' and 'stupid' aren't interchangeable. It's just like any other track. If you overdrive the thing, you're going to be picking wall splinters our of your backside. If you aren't aggressive enough with it, then you're going to be seeing the leaders in your rearview mirror pretty quickly. There's something like a 'smooth aggressive,' and that's what you're trying to hit every lap at Indy. "We feel this Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team could do pretty well up there. We're going to Indianapolis with the idea of turning our season around. Daytona (the team came from a lap down and 41st place to finish third) was a sign we're heading the way we want to head. We had a little trouble at Pocono and the cautions didn't fall the way we needed them too, but we still were headed for at least a top 10 finish in the first half of that race. We're not down. We're ready for try it again. "The good thing about the way the schedule is is that you can't get too down on yourself for anything. There isn't any time to do it. We do have this weekend off but there's plenty of work going on at the race shop getting ready for all those races in a row coming up. Even if we wanted to kick ourselves for a race this season we would have to wait until the end of the year to schedule it. If you're going to have a "Pity Party" in NASCAR racing, it's got to come in December." By Williams Company of America, Inc.