Marlin Back Behind The Wheel

Sterling Marlin got back behind the wheel of his No. 40 Coors Light Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge on Monday during a Dodge manufacturer’s test at Talladega Superspeedway preparing for the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Season.

Marlin was joined by fellow Chip Ganassi Racing teams with Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray; Evernham Motorsports, with Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield; Petty Enterprises, with Kyle Petty; Bill Davis Racing, with Ward Burton and Scott Wimmer; and Penske Racing South, with Ryan Newman and Buddy Baker in the No. 2 Dodge.

"I felt comfortable. Very comfortable,” said Marlin, who got back behind the wheel of his car for the first time since late September. Two days before qualifying for the EA SPORTS 500 at Talladega, it was announced that Marlin would miss the remainder of the season.

Marlin, who was in the thick of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship hunt, was forced to sit out the final seven races of the 2002 season with a fracture of the No. 2 cervical vertebra. He was cleared to resume his driving duties on Dec. 5.

Marlin and his fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitors will return to Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 3-6, 2003. Tickets still remain for the NWC Aaron’s 499, as well as Saturday’s doubleheader with the Busch Series Aaron’s 312 and the IROC Racing Series.

During the down time, Marlin has been busy with strengthening and stretching exercises to help heal the fractured C2 vertebra.

“I’ll continue with the strengthening and some of the stretching,” said Marlin. “Lift some weights, things like that, but no therapy to speak of. I noticed my neck got a little weaker over the winter, so I’ll lift some weights and build the strength back. It gets a little stiff in the morning.”

The two-day Dodge manufacturer’s test will continue Tuesday at Talladega Superspeedway. The best deal in all of motorsports hasn’t changed for the 2003 season. Talladega Superspeedway’s Allison Grandstand remains a two-day $60 ticket, good for all three races during the weekend. Fans who purchase the Allison Grandstand can watch the NASCAR Winston Cup Happy Hour, IROC XXVII and the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron’s 312 on Saturday, April 5, 2003 and return for the NWC Aaron’s 499 on April 6.

If fans purchase one-day tickets for Saturday, April 5 by March 16, they will save $5 off the price of the ticket offered from March 17 through the day of the race.

The weekend begins on April 3 with John Deere Qualifying Day to set the field for the NBS Aaron’s 312. Friday, April 4, is NASCAR Winston Cup Series Qualifying Day to set the field for the NWC Aaron’s 499.

Fans can purchase tickets for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend by calling (256) 362-RACE

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