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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile

    With his strong southern accent, and funny sense of humor, Sterling Marlin, like many other past drivers, is someone that can't be duplicated~ So many of the "up and coming" drivers of today lack any kind of humor or personality of their own~ It's as if they're from the same cookie cutter they use with so many of the newer NASCAR tracks.. bland and exactly the same~ Today, I'm going to be writing about Marlin's time in the #44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile, a car owned by Billy Hagan, and chew chiefed by Steve Hmiel~

    Following Terry Labonte's departure from the team in favor of driving for the famed Junior Johnson, Hagan picked Marlin to drive his car for the full season~ This was only Marlin's 2nd time getting to drive a full season, his first coming in 1983 driving for Roger Hamby~  He picked up his first top 5 finish of the season in the TranSouth 500 @ Darlington, finishing in the 4th position~ As the season progressed, Marlin slowly moved his way up the points standings, and finished the season 11th in the points, with  4 top 5's, and 8 top 10's~

                                                  Sterling on track in the Piedmont car~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    The 1988 season would be the last time he drove the Piedmont colors~ He started the season off strong with an 8th place finish in the Daytona 500~ He followed that up with a 5th place in the Pontiac Excitement 400 @ Richmond, and a 3rd place finish in the Goodwrench 500 @ Rockingham~

    With that string of solid finishes, Marlin found himself 2nd in the points standing headed to Atlanta~ But the Atlanta race wouldn't be so kind to Sterling, and he ended his day in the 20th spot, dropping him down to 4th in the points~ He would rebound in the next 2 races, where he finished 5th @ Darlington, and 8th at Bristol~ These finishes catapulted him back up to 2nd in the points~

     With a 16th place finish in the next race @ North Wilksboro, Marlin again slipped back to 4th, but not for long~ The very next race @ Martinsville, he finished 2nd behind race winner Dale Earnhardt putting him back up to 2nd in the points~ He followed that up with a 6th place finish @ Talladega~ He then started to have a bit of mid season bad luck, that somewhat continued for the remainder of the season~

                                              Sterling Marlin passing Rusty Wallace~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

     Most of this bad luck was due to engines going sour, with Marlin having 5 engines expire throughout the season~ He was only involved in one crash all season, and was running at the end of all the other races, minus those 6~ Marlin finished in 12th place in his final race with the Piedmont car, in the Atlanta Journal 500~

    He finished the season off with 6 top 5's, and 13 top 10's, having led 334 laps, and finished 10th in the final points standings~ After this season, Marlin stayed with the Hagan team, with sponsorship from Sunoco~ The team also changed numbers from 44 to 94~ He would keep this sponsorship until the 1991 season, when he left the team to drive for Junior Johnson himself, after Johnson's second failed attempt to get Alan Kulwicki to drive for him~

    Junior also stole the Maxwell House Coffee sponsorship Alan had thought he had secured for himself before the start of the season, leaving Kulwicki without a sponsor for the start of the season~ He ran the Daytona 500 with Army as a sponsor, and later picked up Hooters as his sponsor for the remainder of his career~

                                        Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diescast blog club exclusive Underalls
                                                             Click pics to enlarge~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diescast blog club exclusive Underalls

    This car was made by Racing Champions as a club exclusive in 1991, when Marlin had long since raced his final race in the car~ To my knowledge, this is the only time RC made a car of a current driver after the sponsorship was over~ I was always a big fan of the Oldsmobile's RC produced, even though the original cars were a bit shoddy~ This one however, isn't shoddy at all, and RC did a wonderful job on it, even adding secondary sponsor Underalls to the car~

    I don't know how many favorites a person can have, but once again, this is one of my favorites in my collection~ The big blue stripe on the bottom of the car, along with the bright white of the rest of the car, really make it stand out on my display~ The number on the side of the car is huge, which I also like, it's as big as the roof number, maybe even bigger~ I give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, and really enjoy having it as part of my collection~

    As with all of my posts, I have added some videos of Marlin's career down below~ I've added as many as I could find of him in this car~ Thank you all for visiting the blog!~ I'll be at the race track this weekend, so this may be my last post until next week~ I hope you all have a great weekend, and I'll see you next time!~ :)

                                               1987 Bud at the Glen~ Marlin, Hillin crash~
                                               1988 Pepsi Firecracker 400~ Marlin crash~
                                            1988 Coca-Cola 600 Marlin and Marcis crash~

                                                  Marlin's horrible Kansas wreck 2002~


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