410 - Sterling Marlin - "I Broke My Dad's Collarbone"
It’s time once again to sit down with a guest in the Bojangles Studio, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and co-host Mike Davis have decided to kick off the year with a bang. The highly-anticipated first interview of The Dale Jr. Download’s 11th season is none other than Columbia, Tennessee’s Sterling Marlin. Marlin has been one of the most requested visitors by Download listeners, as he was a fixture in the NASCAR Cup garage for nearly four decades and a fan favorite amongst his class of competitors.Sterling truly embodies the humble farmer to stock car racing star trajectory that NASCAR was founded on. In fact, he traveled from his family’s 600-acre farm which is located about an hour southwest of Nashville. It was on that very farm that he learned the ethics of hard work from his father Clifton “Coo Coo” Marlin. Hard working principles made Coo Coo a force to be reckoned with in the NASCAR Sportsman ranks of the ‘60s and ‘70s, which carried over to him being one of the best-running independent outfits on the Cup circuit. From the age of 12, Sterling found a place on his father’s race team, eventually rising to tire changer and crew chief. His initial attempt at a cure came in the form of a ‘64 Chevelle, which he and his cousin drove from home straight to the race track; no tags, no lights, no worries. A few years later, he made a more proper entrance into the racing world, entering a NASCAR Sportsman race at the famed Nashville Fairgrounds. A couple racing weekends later, he found himself sitting in the driver’s seat of his father’s Cup ride, ready to take on the likes of Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and the other stars of the 1970s. And when the opportunity for a full-time Cup ride came knocking from Roger Hamby in 1983, Sterling rose to the occasion in the same fashion, finishing 19th in the point standings and winning Rookie of the Year honors. Consistency seemed to be a key to success for Sterling, as a signed contract to be chauffeur of Billy Hagan’s championship-winning number-44 Piedmont Airlines ride brought about his breakthrough season in 1988. A 10th-place points effort made other car owners in the garage take notice, and the tobacco farmer from Columbia had established himself as a more than capable wheel-turner. Sterling had stints driving for some of the most steadiest outfits in the stock car scene, including Junior Johnson, Hoss Ellington, the Stravola Brothers, and Earl Sadler, but none could help him get over the hump from solid finisher to race winner. That is, until 1994. Armed with a new ride at Morgan-McClure, in their bright-yellow Kodak number-4, Sterling set out on the season lightning quick, thanks in part to Dr. Gas’ revolutionary “x-pipe” exhaust system. The few extra horsepower was enough to edge Sterling ahead when it mattered most, making him the winner of the Daytona 500. After finishing second and coming close so many times, he was finally a race winner, in the sport’s biggest event at that. Once the glass was broken, Sterling returned the following year and repeated the feat, giving him the distinct honor of being the only driver in history to notch his first two victories in the Great American Race. He would go on to finish 3rd in the 1995 season points, certifying him as one of the top talents in the division. Sterling would go on to have continued success in NASCAR, including a near-championship run in 2002 before retiring after the ‘09 season. The discussion covers the highs and lows of his career, as well as his 2012 diagnosis of Parkinsonism and his navigation of the disorder in his day-to-day life. Tune in to gain a unique perspective on one of stock car racing’s most memorable characters on episode 410 of the Dale Jr. Download.
409 - Clash Overreactions; Jimmie Johnson's Back; Kevin Harvick's Retirement
411 - Recapping Our Redneck Romance with Sterling Marlin
About The Show
NASCAR’s 15-time Most Popular Driver and winner of two Daytona 500s, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hosts his very own podcast, The Dale Jr Download on Dirty Mo Media. Earnhardt and co-host Mike Davis raise the bar with unparalleled perspective, candid commentary, and fascinating, first-person insight into the life of a broadcaster, celebrated racer.