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NASCAR Winston Cup Series DieHard 500 Preview: #4, Sterling Marlin

7 October 1997

#4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo 
NASCAR Winston Cup Series
DieHard 500 Advance 
Talladega Superspeedway

TALLADEGA, AL - STERLING MARLIN (No. 4 Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet Monte
Carlo) - "We've had a lot of interesting things happen to us at
Talladega. Last spring I was driving the motorhome back home after the
rainout. I got behind some guy who was a big 4 car fan. He had all
kind of 4 stuff in the windows. I was probably crowding him a little
bit. He started shooting me the finger. He was hanging his hand out
the window. It was really funny. Here he was my fan, and he didn't
know I was driving that bus. He finally turned off, and I got away
from him. He didn't ever know it was me.

"Me and daddy and another guy were leaving the race down there one
time. We got to the end of Speedway Boulevard, and daddy hit the
brakes and there weren't any brakes. He hit the curb and flipped. I
was about 12. We slid across the highway and landed in a ditch upside
down. The race car we were hauling went up through somebody's
yard. They flipped it back over and drove it home. It didn't hurt
anything except it tore off the mirrors. They came back the next day,
put some oil in it, patched it up and drove it back to the house.

"I think we'll be good at Talladega. We had come back to the front and
were leading for awhile in the spring. We pitted and came back up to
fifth and then we broke. We'll see what happens this time. We're
taking back the same car.  It's the same Chevy we had at Daytona, and
I ran third with it in July.

"We'd like to win one here before we go our separate ways. Runt's
still got some great motors for the restrictor-plate races, but I
think some people have caught up to us once they took the stuff out of
the intakes. Runt had a little different deal in the intake. The
Chevrolet guys are probably within four or five horsepower, and the
Fords are probably 15 horsepower ahead of us. The best we've qualified
has been 16th. We'll give it our best shot and see what happens. We
need to win a plate track before the season is out.

"You've got to know when to go and pass and not get out of line at
Talladega.  You've got to have a good car. If you've got something
that won't run, you're just wasting your time. It's all car in
qualifying. It's not a real big deal to qualify up front there. If
they're going to have the big wreck or not going to have the big
wreck, you can miss it or hit it whether you're in the mid pack or out
with the lead pack. If they wreck, you've still got to dodge 'em.
Everybody runs good there now. The same crowd will be there. If you've
got a really, really bad car, you can't keep up. I think we'll have a
good car. This team knows how to win on the superspeedways and the
restrictor-plate tracks. I think we'll have a good shot at Talladega."
RUNT PITTMAN (Engine Builder No. 4 Kodak Gold Film Monte Carlo) -
"We've been down there testing, and maybe we've found a little
something. We need to get the car to qualify. We haven't had real good
luck getting it to qualify fast, but we can race real fast. If we can
qualify in the top 10, we'll be satisfied. I think we'll be real good
during the race. Everything we had three or four years ago, about
everybody has been able to buy it now. The vendors take and keep it
for you for about six months and then they sell it to everybody.

"You almost run out of things to do that everybody else isn't
doing. Everybody ends up doing the same thing. You have to keep
changing things and trying different stuff. You'll hit a little
something every now and then and they'll take it and make it for you
and then they'll go sell it. We always had good luck with the plate
motors. I've always liked to go to Daytona Beach and run, even before
they had the plates. We went down there when we were kids and ran
cars. We started years back with Hoss Ellington driving. We had good
luck with it. We went down there and ran second. We always liked the
beach. We always tried to fix something that could outrun 'em down
there. Sterling still has the record lap at Daytona on July 4 for a
wide-open lap. He was just a kid then wanting to get out of the
tobacco field.

"Everybody has known Sterling since he used to work for his daddy and
his daddy drove. We've been buddies for a long time. It's just a deal
where somebody wants to pay him more than somebody else does. It's who
buys who. As far as I know, I'm set for next year. I can't be
bought. Shoot, I can't even be rented."
LARRY McCLURE (Team Manager No. 4 Kodak Gold Film Monte Carlo) - "It's
hard to get excited about anything this year, but the prospects of
having a good run are still there for Talladega. It's the same team,
same car, same equipment.  We were going for the lead in the first
race in the spring and broke a valve spring. We've done our
homework. We think we can go down there and have a good run. Luckily
for us, it's the same rules I guess. The Fords have still got the
dropped hind end on their cars, but that's the way the game's played.

"We're the winningest team in the 90s at Daytona and Talladega. We've
won 9 out of 30. We've won three Daytona 500s. The next closest team I
think is Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt and they've never won
the 500. There's always that pressure. It's like having four hole
cards -- Daytona, Talladega, Daytona, Talladega. We know usually we
can bank on superb performance at those tracks. Whether it results in
a win or not, we'll have to wait and see. I can tell you we'll be
running for it.

"Runt always works hard. We've worked hard all year. We've tried to
push the envelope to the edge and sometimes we went over it. We've
been trying to find a little extra something -- magic. We found out
there wasn't any magic, but we're still looking forward to
Talladega. I think that's one place Sterling thinks he's got an
opportunity to win. Some of these other places he's not so
confident. That's his problem. It's been my problem. We're still a
team. We talk to each other. I hope he wins. I pull for him. We're not
real close friends, but we're friends. If you're around somebody for
three or four years, you care about 'em. We're going to try to win
these last four races. This is what I do for a living. Every time you
see my car go on a race track, I would hope it's going for the win. It
all may backfire, who knows, but I think every team is going for the
wins now. Gordon went for the million and he had the points lead. He
didn't back down. You can't back down anymore. I think Gordon's team
is just hot. He's a superstar. He's in a position where Dale Earnhardt
was a few years back or even better. He's got a good crew chief and a
good race team. I don't think they necessarily have an edge on the
other Chevy teams. I think they use everything. The rest of us are not
in that position. His teammate won the championship last year, and he
can't hardly qualify for a race. I'm sure he gets the same engines and
chassis and gets the same information.

"We're going through a driver change, and that's one thing that I
could say has taken away from our effort. Earnhardt has slipped a
little bit, and we've all been running against the rules. They say if
we give you another quarter-inch on the spoiler, which you deserve,
then Gordon is going to lap the field. He might do that. He's won 10
races anyway. Their strategy hasn't worked on stopping him. The only
thing that it's done is make most of the Fords better than most of the
Chevys. It's given them more of an opportunity to finish higher in the
points and win more races than we do. It's kind of close out here
right now. Everybody's got good engines. Everybody's got good cars and
hopefully the best team will win. A few years ago, that was the case.
Ford has the upper hand now. It's so far ahead of us, it's hard for us
to be competitive.

"We're certainly going to keep looking at doing a multi-car team. I've
got to do everything I can to get this No. 4 Kodak-sponsored Monte
Carlo back to where it needs to be. I want to do that. Next year,
it'll be just a one-car deal. I don't have any reason to believe I'll
do two cars next year. I'm going to do everything I can to win the
championship. We had it going our way a couple of years ago. It
slipped. Everybody gets their egos out of shape. This time, I'm going
to see if I can keep that from happening.

"If you want to get skilled people to work on your race car, you've
got to go outside and that usually means going to Charlotte to pull
someone away. Then they've got to move. That's a disadvantage for us,
but I'd rather pay for someone and move 'em and then we're away from
it. Everybody who's settled, it's hard to get 'em to move. It's not
different from any other business and sport. We're still looking
around. We're going to make some adjustments. The crew hasn't been the
problem with our race team.

"I don't know what people are talking about when they're talking about
team chemistry. If you've got the desire to win, people don't have to
like each other. If they're doing everything they can do with
everything that's at their disposal, they'll be in a position to win
the race. That goes from intelligence to reflexes to desire to
focus. You've got to use all the energies you've got. That's what it
takes. You don't have to like somebody.  Most of these pro athletes
probably hate each other. You always read about it, but the superstars
perform. All teams have egos that have to be fed. Look at the 5
team. It blew up. An ego there wasn't fed enough, evidently, and it
blew up. There you have it."

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