At age 61, Sterling Marlin is winning races with Parkinsonism; Close to setting all-time win record at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville
Sterling Marlin comes from a time in NASCAR where ‘the men were men and the sheep were scared,’ in his own words. He’s run 748 NASCAR Cup Series races run over 33 years.
On Thursday, Marlin was at Bristol Motor Speedway. He was asked if he had any memories of the speedway.
“I got burnt in ’91. Come back in the fall race and run 2nd to Kulwicki Marlin recalled from the Bristol Motor Speedway media center. “It’s always been a special place to race here. I liked it when it was asphalt. Against the wall, smoke flying. Two wide, three wide sometimes.”
Marlin collected 10 NASCAR Cup Series win, 216 top-10’s and he’s a two-time Daytona 500 winner. His cup career began in 1976 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. He ran his last event in 2009 at Martinsville Speedway.
Now, at age 61, Marlin has the nickname of ‘Shaky’ in his post-NASCAR era. In 2012, Marlin was diagnosed with Parkinsonism. But, that’s not enough to keep a racer out of the race car.
“I know someday, I gotta quit,” Marlin said with a laugh. “But, we got some new cars. Got about eight cars right now. About to run out of room.”
“I got a couple guys driving for me. [We] travel around and see what we can do.”
Marlin is still at it. He’s a full-blown asphalt late model team owner. He has a fleet of race cars, some of them are for him and others are for drivers he’s hired.
Marlin himself is behind the wheel and back on the short tracks, mostly in the Tennessee area. More specifically, he can be found somewhat regularly at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
“We’ve had a real fast car at Nashville this year. Led every lap a couple weeks ago.”
“We got eight to nine races. We just run once a month or twice a month. We finally got us a Saturday night where everything went right. It’s a good track. I love racing there. They got a lot of good people.”
Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville is a 0.596-mile high banked track. It’s located in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s the very track Marlin made his Cup Series debut.
“There was 8,000 people in the stands last week. Biggest crowd all year.”
That win on August 4th at Nashville paid $5,000 to the winner. It was the 64th win at the track for Sterling Marlin. The all-time record is 66, a track record held by Joe Buford.
“I thought I was pretty close to it, but I really didn’t know how close,” Marlin said in victory lane after his latest win. “I didn’t set out to try to break the record, but now that I’m that close I guess it’d be pretty nice. I want to get it.”
Marlin is the 1980, 1981 & 1982 Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville track champion.
Marlin was was invited to Bristol Motor Speedway as a guest of Food City. Naturally, he was asked about his times in the sport and how it feels to be back, even if only for a moment.
“It’s good to come back and see all the old buddies. They’re thinning out. They’re all about in wheelchairs now.”
Anything you miss in NASCAR?
“Not really. It’s good to see everybody. The travel, I just got burnt out on travel to the West coast and back and forth.”
“I remember one race at Michigan… It was a three-o’clock start. I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing here? This race needs to start at twelve-o’clock.’ Anyway, I just got burnt out.”
“I don’t miss the travel a bit.
Where’s he off to next?
This weekend, August 18th, Marlin will head to Mobile International Speedway. The Irvington, Alabama track is hosting the Mobile 300. It’s a $15,000-to-win event on the half mile oval.
On September 1st, he’s heading to the Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa. The 200-lap race will pay $50,000 to the race winner.
Jukasa Motor Speedway is located in Hagersville, Ontario. The track is a 5/8-mile paved oval that seen a heavy and expensive remodel. The track re-opened in late 2017.
“I’ve raced there before but they changed the name of the track. [It’s] banked like Nashville. They’ll probably be about a 100 cars there. We’ll grab the best car we got and see what happens.”
On October 6-7th, Marlin is scheduled to close out his 2018 season at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
On Wednesday, Sterling Marlin loaded up facebook live. He then click on the engine and took the fans for a ride down public roads. You can watch that video below.