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There’s A New Marlin Taking To The Race Track

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 21 2009
Sutherlin Marlin and father Sterling Marlin talk racing during a break in action at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. (Photo special by Tammy Brewington)

Sutherlin Marlin and father Sterling Marlin talk racing during a break in action at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville. (Photo special by Mike Curran)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Nashville – Sporting the red No. 711 that her grandfather made famous in the 1960’s, and with her two-time Daytona 500 champion dad coaching her over her radio headset, Sutherlin Marlin chased down her destiny Saturday night.

Sutherlin, 19, finished 8th in a 40-lap Supertruck feature at Fairgrounds Speedway, the track on which her grandfather, Coo Coo, won four championships in the 1960’s and her father Sterling added three more in the 1980’s.

“I can’t wait to go again,” said Sutherlin, a student at Columbia (Tn.) State who spent months practicing for her first race. “I was a little nervous at first, but after the race started it went away. It was fun and I’m definitely going to keep racing.”

The evening was an adventure from start to finish. In practice Sutherlin swerved and scraped the wall, slightly damaging her truck. At the start of the she missed a gear and dropped off the pace. And midway through the race she spun out on the backstretch, did a 360-degree spin, and kept going.

“How’d that happen?” Sutherlin asked her dad over her in-truck radio after the spin.

“I thought she did OK for her first time out,” Sterling said. “She finished the race and didn’t tear up anything. But she needs a lot more practice. I’m going to put her in one of daddy’s old cattle trucks and let her drive around the farm all day to practice shifting.”

“I guess I was just nervous and excited and trying to think of too many things at one,” Sutherlin said of the missed gear. “Being in a race is a lot different from being out there by yourself in practice.”

Steadman’s mother, Paula, watched anxiously from track-side. Her appraisal?

“I’m just glad it’s over,” she said.

The Fairgrounds season runs through the fall and Sutherlin plans to be a regular competitor in the truck series, the track’s second-tier division.

Sterling and son Steadman raced in Saturday night’s premier Late Model division. Both were involved in crashes and finished back in the field.

Sterling this year is running a partial schedule in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series and will attempt to qualify for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 21 2009
4 Comments

4 Comments »

  • Mike Bagley says:

    Great article….I wish her a lot of success!!

  • Terry Wilcox says:

    Very nice article Larry, I thought she did great considering it was her first time ever racing. I look forward to seeing her progress as the season goes on.

  • Thanks Woody for the story and I liked the photo you chose to use. I sent several and liked this one the best too. :) Sut said she’s coming back this weekend to race even though her Dad will be in Indy. I loved the quote where he said he was going to put her on the old cattle truck to practice shifting. :) Funny stuff!

  • dj says:

    great story….I was a Coo Coo fan, then a Sterling fan (and of course still am), and now I have Sutherlin to cheer on. I started out being a racing fan while going to the fairgrounds on Saturday nights in the 70″s when I was just a youngster. this is great for me to see another Marlin coming through the ranks. I think she has the potential “Racing DNA” and it might be the perfect time and age to be a lady in racing.