NASCAR Winston Cup Preview
Topics: Winston Cup
January 18, 2003
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
Q. Sterling, give us a prognosis on Daytona testing and the start of the season for the No. 40 team with you back in the seat again?
STERLING MARLIN: We had a pretty good test. I think we were 10th quickest overall. We had the same car we had for all speedway races since 2001, has lead about every race we were in.
Q. How are you feeling? Do you have any residual effects of last year other than just being mad about missing the last few races?
STERLING MARLIN: I feel fine. After last year, my neck never really hurt. I felt like I just need to pop it. I'm trying to get Schrader to do it. My chest was really sore after the Richmond deal for about a month. Kenny has been through that. He broke his sternum in Daytona four or five years ago. The neck never really bothered me. Everything is fine.
Q. How important is testing at Daytona from what we've seen and how has it changed in the last few years?
STERLING MARLIN: It's a have-to because other people are going. If they didn't go, none of us would have to. We qualified 30-something down there last year. We ran well in the shootout and the 125-mile race. We got to the front and led a lot of laps. Those two laps, you would like to get in two good laps but it's not the end if you don't get them. As long as your car drives good, that's what is important.
The drafting practice down there, it's not really drafting practice. It's precision driving for a few laps because it's not drafting practice until they are three wide and you look up in your mirror and you see the top of Spencer's helmet. Then it's really drafting practice (laughter)
Q. Sterling, Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach are going to start their own team next year and Troy said you are the reason that he is getting involved in NASCAR. Did you know that?
STERLING MARLIN: I didn't know he was getting in racing. It was kind of a friend of a friend deal. He got us together, I went to a few games down there and he came to the 500 back in 1994. I really haven't talked to him in a couple of years. But, it probably made a fan out of him.
Q. What is it going to be like to have two crash tests dummies as teammates there, you know what I'm saying, you are going to have two young kids as opposed to having a veteran teammate. Will it be any different?
STERLING MARLIN: Jamie did a really good job for us. All of the guys on the crew really liked him. It's like he has been there two or three years already. Hopefully, he will bring something to us. We got a great racecar and a great race team and look forward to picking up where we left off last year.
Q. Sterling, last year you had a lot of success during the year; you were racing for the championship. Does that put more pressure on you to do it again this year or do you just feel good that you have everything in place and have a shot at doing that?
STERLING MARLIN: Back two years ago, we come out and nobody give us much of a chance. We were running pretty good and then we came back last year and lead the thing. We've got all of the same people, sponsors, Coor's Lite, same owner, same everything. Adding Jamie and Casey gives us more tests and more information. I think it just makes it better.
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