Marlin finds his groove on plate tracks

Sunday, July 23, 1995 – It took Sterling Marlin 279 starts to record his first win in NASCAR’s premier series. Once that was out of the way, Marlin has been almost unstoppable on the series restrictor-plate tracks. The Columbia, Tenn., resident picked up his fourth career victory, his third on a restrictor-plate track, when he captured the DieHard 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Marlin, driver of the No. 4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet, led 57 of 188 laps and edged Dale Jarrett for the win.

Marlin’s first two career wins came at Daytona International Speedway, the other track where the use of restrictor plates was mandatory, in 1994 and ’95. He added a spring race win at Darlington prior to winning at Talladega.

A 13-car accident that unfolded on lap 139 wiped out several contenders, including Rusty Wallace, Bobby Labonte and Ken Schrader. Schrader’s Chevrolet went airborne after contact from teammate Jeff Gordon, and flipped several times before coming to rest on its roof. Other than a knot above his right eye, Schrader was not hurt. “We came off the corner and I saw Schrader sideways; it was kind of a scramble after that,” Terry Labonte said. “Everybody was trying to miss him. That was hard to do.”

Only one caution flag had flown prior to the ‘Big One,” for debris on lap 112. Otherwise the race had been under green and was being run at a record pace.

Marlin collected the Unocal bonus of $121,600 for winning the race from the pole.

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