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Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2003

Marlin hoping to get back on track

Some may not agree, but NASCAR driver lists Darlington among favorite venues

March 16, 2003

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— Darlington Raceway is a tough place to turn around a season, yet that's exactly what Sterling Marlin expects to do.

While some drivers dread racing on the egg-shaped 1.366-mile Darlington oval, Marlin says he can hardly wait for today's Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

"I always enjoy racing at Darlington," Marlin said. "It's one of the best tracks for me. We've had a good car here the past two years. Hopefully, we can get it driving as good as we did last year ... and we'll be right there."

Marlin won here last March for the most recent of his 10 career victories and finished fourth in the Southern 500 in September.

First-time pole-winner Elliott Sadler and Ryan Newman will start from the front row of the 43-car field today, with Jerry Nadeau and Jimmy Spencer right behind. Rounding out the top 10 are six-time Darlington winner Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Ward Burton, Marlin, Michael Waltrip and Todd Bodine.

Series leader Matt Kenseth, 49 points ahead of Waltrip, will start 12th.

Marlin would love to have another great race on this track, considering how poorly his season has started compared with 2002.

Busch race postponed

Darlington, S.C. -- The Busch race at Darlington Raceway was postponed until Monday because of rain.

It is the second time this season weather has delayed a Busch race. Three weeks ago, the Rockingham 200 at North Carolina Speedway was held the Monday following the Winston Cup race.

Officials waited about 90 minutes Saturday before calling the DarlingtonRaceway.com 200.

Werner wins 12 Hours of Sebring

Sebring, Fla. -- An unscheduled pit stop by the race leader gave Marco Werner's Audi R8 its first lead in almost six hours, and he went on to win the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race Saturday night.

The Infineon Team Joest Audi, driven by Werner, Frank Biela and Philipp Peter, started from the pole spot, but trailed another Audi R8 entry from Champion Racing for most of the race.

But Champion's Emanuele Pirro was forced to make an unexpected stop with 11¼2 hours remaining because of lower leg cramps. Werner seized the lead at that point and rode the Infineon Audi to the LMP900 class and overall victory.

Kalitta top NHRA qualifier

Gainesville, Fla. -- For the third consecutive race, Doug Kalitta has earned the No. 1 qualifying position in the NHRA's Top Fuel competition. He turned in a 4.535-second run at 326.08 mph in his dragster Saturday to lead the 16-car field for today's Gatornationals.

Other top qualifiers are Tony Pedregon, Bruce Allen and Angelle Savoie. Pedregon led in Funny car with a quarter-mile run of 4.811 at 317.57, Allen clocked in at 6.777 and 202.33 in Pro Stock. Savoie was 7.160 at 182.03 in Pro Stock Bike.

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