Marlin wins 400 race at Darlington

March 27, 1995|By Knight-Ridder News Service

DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Sterling Marlin, previously a winner in only the Daytona 500, evaded a record rash of wrecks at Darlington Raceway and passed Dale Earnhardt for the lead 12 laps from the finish yesterday to triumph in a wild TranSouth 400.

Crashes and spins forced 15 yellow flags in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, the most ever at the 1.366-mile track dating to 1950. By unofficial count, 29 of the 42 drivers were involved in the incidents that led to 87 of the event's 293 laps being run under caution.

The previous record for yellows in a 400-mile Darlington race was five on four occasions. The overall mark was 14 cautions in the Southern 500s of 1982 and 1985.

Marlin, whose only two victories in 313 starts before yesterday came in back-to-back 1994-95 Daytona 500s, was among the few drivers to finish with an unblemished car.

After the final caution during laps 244-255, Earnhardt and Marlin emerged from pit stops 1 and 2 in their Chevrolets. They were followed in the top five by Ford drivers Ted Musgrave, Derrike Cope and Morgan Shepherd.

Marlin patiently trailed just behind Earnhardt until Lap 283, when he darted inside going down the backstretch and swept past Earnhardt between turns 3 and 4 to assume command.

The winner took the checkered flag 1.05 seconds in front of Earnhardt to push the streak of Chevrolet's new Monte Carlo model to 5-0 this season.

"It means a lot to win at this ol' place," said Marlin, celebrating in Victory Lane with crew chief Tony Glover and other members of the Morgan-McClure team. "I remember coming here with my daddy back in '69 and '70 when he was racing, and he'd let me get in the car and shake it down.

"He never liked the place, but I always did. I like it even more now."

Sterling is the son of Clifton "Coo Coo" Marlin, a NASCAR regular in the 1970s.

1. (5) Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 293, $86,185, 111.392 mph. 2. (23) Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 293, $54,355. 3. (18) Ted Musgrave, Ford Thunderbird, 293, $43,565. 4. (31) Todd Bodine, Ford Thunderbird, 293, $36,570. 5. (13) Derrike Cope, Ford Thunderbird, 293, $22,950. 6. (24) Steve Grissom, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 293, $18,600. 7. (28) Michael Waltrip, Pontiac Grand Prix, 293, $22,720. 8. (16) Morgan Shepherd, Ford Thunderbird, 293, $21,990. 9. (25) Bobby Hamilton, Pontiac Grand Prix, 293, $16,385. 10. (15) John Andretti, Ford Thunderbird, 292, $13,980.

11. (3) Ken Schrader, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 291, $20,500. 12. (21) Brett Bodine, Ford Thunderbird, 290, $24,820. 13. (27) Geoff Bodine, Ford Thunderbird, 288, $25,610. 14. (36) Billy Standridge, Ford Thunderbird, 287, $10,805. 15. (41) Mike Wallace, Ford Thunderbird, 287, $15,000. 16. (33) Randy LaJoie, Pontiac Grand Prix, 285, $20,630. 17. (17) Bill Elliott, Ford Thunderbird, 272, $10,275. 18. (42) Loy Allen, Ford Thunderbird, 249, $18,140. 19. (20) Jeff Burton, Ford Thunderbird, 242, $18,595. 20. (34) Davy Jones, Ford Thunderbird, 241, crash, $15,065.

21. (6) Darrell Waltrip, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 239, $18,095. 22. (30) Greg Sacks, Pontiac Grand Prix, 236, $17,875. 23. (8) Rusty Wallace, Ford Thunderbird, 235, $24,630. 24. (40) Dave Marcis, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 228, $9,310. 25. (7) Ward Burton, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 227, $9,390. 26. (39) Rick Mast, Ford Thunderbird, 216, accident, $17,275. 27. (11) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 216, accident, $17,110. 28. (19) Dick Trickle, Ford Thunderbird, 216, accident, $16,950. 29. (22) Lake Speed, Ford Thunderbird, 216, $8,890. 30. (9) Robert Pressley, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 212, $16,805.

31. (35) Jeremy Mayfield, Ford Thunderbird, 203, engine failure, $11,745. 32. (1) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200, accident, $20,875. 33. (10) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 197, $8,650. 34. (2) Terry Labonte, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 193, $23,565. 35. (38) Kyle Petty, Pontiac Grand Prix, 190, accident, $13,580. 36. (29) Jimmy Spencer, Ford Thunderbird, 183, $8,545. 37. (12) Mark Martin, Ford Thunderbird, 157, $22,531. 38. (26) Dale Jarrett, Ford Thunderbird, 133, accident, $22,809. 39. (37) Chuck Bown, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 113, oil leak, $8,409. 40. (32) Steve Kinser, Ford Thunderbird, 95, engine failure, $13,409.

41. (4) Ricky Rudd, Ford Thunderbird, 74, accident, $21,409. 42. (14) Ricky Craven, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 47, rocker arm, $8,409.

Time of race: 3 hours, 35 minutes, 35 seconds. Margin of victory: 1.05 seconds. Caution flags: 15 for 87 laps. Lead changes: 16 among 11 drivers. Lap leaders: Gordon 1-22; Mayfield 23-40; G.Bodine 41-48; Gordon 49-76; Spencer 77-78; M.Waltrip 79; Gordon 80-141; W.Burton 142-143; Gordon 144-159; Marlin 160-162; Gordon 163-189; Marlin 190-218; Grissom 219-222; Shepherd 223; Musgrave 224-244; Earnhardt 245-281; Marlin 282-293. Series points leaders: Earnhardt 860; Marlin 793; Martin 648; Cope 646; T.Labonte 643; Musgrave 624; Shepherd 615; Gordon 609; Jarrett 602; J.Andretti 582; B.Labonte 578; Rudd 571; M.Waltrip 570; Schrader 566; Grissom 560.

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