NASCAR Winston Cup Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 Preview: #4, S. Marlin
3 September 1997
#4 Sterling Marlin, Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR Winston Cup Series Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 Advance Richmond International Raceway STERLING MARLIN NOTES & QUOTES: EXIDE NASCAR SELECT BATTERIES 400 'The four races of September will be the key for points' RICHMOND, VA - Sterling Marlin and the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team head to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway and the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 Saturday night determined to finish the 1997 season - and their association - on a high note. It was announced last week that Marlin, 40, will be moving to another, yet officially undisclosed team, next season and Bobby Hamilton will be moving to Morgan-McClure Motorsports beginning in 1998. Marlin, tenth in career money-winnings among all NASCAR Winston Cup drivers, noted pride and dedication in saying the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team's efforts would not be less than 100 percent in the final races of this season. A valve train-related problem sidelined the "snakebit" team at Darlington after the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet had moved into the top five during Sunday's Southern 500. The thoughts of Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet driver Sterling Marlin heading into Richmond: "Just because we've decided not to be together next year doesn't mean everybody on this Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team isn't going to work as hard as they can work to finish this year off on a high note. We've been together too long for a lot of bickering or hard feelings. Everybody is doing what they think is best. I don't wish them nothing but the best in 1998 and, in my heart, I know they feel the same way about me. "We still have some unfinished business in 1997, though. This bunch has a lot of pride and we just can't let the year keep going the way it's been going. Our luck has just been terrible. I guess we've talked about the screwdrivers and the ground hogs so much that everybody is getting tired of hearing about them. Shoot, we're getting tired of thinking about them. We've had strange things happen to us all year long. We've talked about them but we haven't dwelled on them. All we can do is keep going on and figure we'll shake these monkeys off our backs sooner or later. "The one thing we aren't going to do is roll over and write the rest of the season off. I've been around racing for a long time and you see that sometimes. A driver and a team will make a decision and everybody will spend the rest of the year mad at each other and not trying to win. Believe me, they don't win either. They flounder the rest of the year and even after they split up, they spend at least the first part of the next season trying to get rid of the bad habits they got into the last part of the season before. "I just can't see me or this Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet bunch doing that. We're still on really good terms and we're still planning on winning some races. We've been capable of winning a bunch of times this year just to see something bad or weird happen to us, most of the time something totally out of our control. We can overcome that. I haven't forgotten how to win and the guys on this team haven't forgotten either. If you look behind the scenes, you'll see that through this whole season. We've had great runs at a lot of places. We've led races. We've done of a lot really good things together. A couple of breaks here or there, and we would have won at least twice already this year. It's just stuff that's out of our control, like where a piece of debris happens to be on a race track or when cautions happen to fall. "We've run pretty well at Richmond in the past, and we're going to see what we can do this time around. This is a pretty crucial part of the season as far as points go. September has always been an important month for points, and the schedule-makers threw in a little twist this year with the new race at New Hampshire. We're out of the top 20 right now but we look at the month of September as our chance to start moving back forward and to even salvage a pretty good points finish out of this deal. "The next two races are important just to finish. Not too many cars fall out of Richmond or New Hampshire, so you know you have to run all day long. Fall out of either one of those races and it's going to cost you a lot of points to everyone else. Winning either one of those, from a points standpoint, is probably more important from the fact that you don't lose points to everyone else than the fact that you gain some. Then we go to Dover, which really takes a toll on cars. This time it's 400 miles instead of 500, but the 'Monster Mile' is a real monster. By surviving there you can still have a good finish. Shoot, we ran over some debris, cut a tire and lost two laps four laps into the June race at Dover this year, and we still finished 10th. We had a really good car and everybody did a real good job in the pits. It paid off. Then you finish up with Martinsville, which can be either a race with a lot of cars dropping out or just a few, you never know. You just know before you get there you are going to tear something up before you leave; you just want to make sure it's nothing really important. "This year we follow those two races with Charlotte and Talladega, two places this Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team has been pretty strong over the years. If we can make a strong run through the four races of September, we could be in a position to really make a big move the first two races of October. But those four races in September are going to be the key for us. "We're not quitting. We're moving on. Don't count this Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet team out." By Williams Company of America, Inc.