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NASCAR Winston Cup Series MBNA 400 Preview: #4, Sterling Marlin

17 September 1997

 #4 Sterling Marlin, Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 MBNA 400 Advance
 Dover Downs International Speedway
                   STERLING MARLIN NOTES & QUOTES: MBNA 400

DOVER, DE - The Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet and driver Sterling Marlin
return to the site of one of their gutsiest performances of 1997 this
week. Even under the shroud of unbelievably bad luck that has covered
the team virtually all season, the team will be considered among the
favorites for the 400-mile event.

In June, the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet clipped a piece of debris on
the first lap of the race, sending the car into the pits for a tire
change under green flag conditions. Even with a lightning-fast pit
stop, Marlin still lost two laps in the pits while the rest of the
field continued at the 25-second-lap one-mile, high-banked
oval. Refusing the surrender to misfortune, the team ran strong all
day and continued its fantastic pit stops. Even though never able to
regain the lost laps, the Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet finished 10th in
the spring race.

Marlin, team manager Larry McClure and crew chief Robert Larkins lead
the team back to the "Monster Mile," hoping for a repeat of the
performance and a non-repeat of the luck. The team has already
announced Bobby Hamilton will take the wheel of the Kodak Gold Film
Chevrolet for the 1998 season, while Marlin will move to another
NASCAR team. The team has dedicated itself to pulling itself from the
mires of "bad luck" before the year is out.

The thoughts of Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet driver Sterling Marlin
heading into Dover:

"The race at Dover in June was as good an example as you'll see of how
the year has gone for us. I don't think anybody had a better car than
this Kodak Gold Film bunch and anybody who paid attention to how the
race played out could see that. First lap, I mean first lap, I ran
over something I guess and the tire starts going down. That's nobody's
fault. I never did figure out what I hit and I guess nobody else saw
it either because not a single other car in the race reported debris
back to their pits. Who knows what it was? I just know it was probably
sharp and I definitely hate it, whatever it was.

"What it was doesn't mean anything anyway. The important thing is what
we were able to do after it happened. I guess it'd been pretty easy to
throw in the towel and figure the day was over, and that we didn't
have a chance to do much of anything. But nobody did. I drove as hard
as I've driven. The boys in the pits worked as hard as they've
worked. Everybody worked hard and worked together and, while it didn't
end up with some 'movie story' type ending, we came home with a top
10. That's pretty impressive to me.

"You have to remember that you can lose two laps at Dover by just
blinking. We had to come in the pits, change tires and get back out
there. So losing just two laps was pretty remarkable. And we didn't
gain anything with it either.  It's not like we got off synch, which
could have been the case if we'd run, say, 30 laps before we
pitted. Shoot, we were one lap off everybody else. So we spotted the
field two laps from the get-go. To come back from that and get what we
got says a lot, a whole lot.

"Because of the way we ran, we feel pretty good about getting back to
Dover.  We know we can run good there. We've proven it to ourselves
with what we did in June, and we've proven it to a lot of people who
were watching it. Maybe the fans didn't see it; they were probably too
busy watching a lot of those boys play bumper cars the last part of
the race. But the people who know what's going on saw it, believe
me. Everybody on this Kodak Gold Film team saw it, remembers it and
knows what it could mean Sunday this week.

"Dover's no piece of cake. It can be one mean race track. There is
plenty that can happen there and usually everything that does happen
happens pretty quick.  Shoot, I've seen slow-motion replays from Dover
that looked like they were running at 78 rpm. There is nothing
graceful and dainty about what you have to do there. You just power
your way down the straights and hope for the best in the turns.

"These cars really slam into the first and third turns. That really
gives you some G-forces as you move on through them. The straights are
banked a good bit too, so you're looking at the race track cockeyed
almost the entire lap. You run a whole race at Dover and you have a
hard time standing up straight for the next couple of days. Your whole
body leans to the left. The track turns you part of the way there and
the G-forces turn you the rest of the way.

"It's tough but I think we've proven we can do pretty well there. The
way this season's gone for us, we need some good breaks and a good
finish could mean a lot for us. That good finish could come this
week. I think we've shown what we can do there."

By Williams Company of America, Inc.