How I became interested in Nascar, and a tribute to the driver I followed most; Sterling Marlin.
I have no problem admitting that I didn't pay much attention to Nascar while growing up. I couldn't tell you were any of the drivers were besides the popular names like: Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, and Jeff Gordon. I started actively following Nascar in the Spring of 2002. The interest that I took in Nascar came in the form of what some might call unusual. It came through the constant playing of a video game. This article will give detail on how I became interested in Nascar through video games, and give a tribute to the driver I followed most once I became a fan.
Back in 2002 when I was attending college and staying on campus, I found myself always in the dorm room of one of my good friend's. During those days, the Playstation One was the popular gaming system. Anyway, my friend had this Nascar video game that he would play often. During the times when we were hanging out together, I found myself becoming almost addicted to the game. Since I really didn't know many of the drivers by name, I would always choose to race with the cars whose decals stood out to me most. One of the cars that I raced with often was the car driven by a driver named Sterling Marlin.
One day while watching television in my dorm room, I noticed a Nascar commercial come across the screen. I vividly recall the annoucer's voice on the ad mentioning Sterling Marlin name as the current points leader. I thought to myself; this guy must be pretty good. I liked his car on the game, and he is leading in the points standings. This gave me even more of an incentive to watch a Nascar race, and that's exactly what I done. I caught onto the Nascar bug near the middle of the 2002 season. I found myself becoming intrigued by the drivers speeding down the various tracks, sometimes doing 200 miles per hour or more. Being that football and basketball were the sports I pay the most attention to, Nascar was something new to me. We all know that things are always more interesting when they're brand new.
I finished watching the 2002 Nascar season, and remember Tony Stewart becoming the Nascar Winston Cup champion that year. When the 2003 season came around in Febuary of 03, I officially became a full time fan with a driver to root for, Sterling Marlin. Sterling Marlin was driving the number 40 Coors Light Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing back then. I found myself tuning in every Sunday to see how well he would do. My interest of this sport began to take me over. It led to me purchasing hats, shirts, and even Nascar pillow cases. When Christmas and birthday's rolled around, my mom knew exactly what to buy me. When I received my first Playstation 2, I remember Nascar Thunder 2004 being the first game I owned on that particular system. The 2005, 2006, and 2007 editions of the EA Sports Nascar series would become mines as well. I guess you can say that I caught the Nascar bug for a bit.
Sterling Marlin lead the points standings for 25 weeks of the 2002 Nascar season. Unfortunately, a crash at the Kansas Speedway ended his hopes of winning his first Nascar championship. Marlin would suffer a neck injury in the crash, and had to sit out the rest of the season. That's when Jamie McMurray stepped in to replace Marlin. McMurray would get to victory lane in Marlin's number 40 Coors Light Dodge at the Lowes Motor Speedway. McMurray accomplished this feat in only his second career Nascar Winston Cup Start. Sterling Marlin never seemed to be quite the same after the wreck at Kansas, and would be replaced by the younger David Stremme in 2006. Following his release from Chip Ganassi Racing, Marlin would join MB2 Motorsports in 2006. Marlin drove the #14 Waste Management Chevy. Marlin would finish 36th in owner points, and eventually was replaced by Reagan Smith on July 17, 2007.
Following his release from MB2 Motorsports, Marlin would mainly run a limited schedule for the next few years, and serve as a replacement driver for other Sprint Cup series drivers when needed. Marlin announced on March 18, 2010 that he was retiring from driving in the Sprint Cup Series. Sterling Marlin's final Nascar Sprint Cup series stats include: 10 wins, 216 top tens, and 11 poles. I have to admit that I somewhat stopped following Nascar as much once Marlin retired. Marlin, along with other older drivers such as: Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliot, and Terry Labonte were leaving the sport. Nascar seemed to become more of a younger man game. I still watch races from time to time, but not as often as I once did. The only driver that I really like to see win now is Dale Earnhardt Jr. I still think that Nascar is a okay sport to watch. It just goes to show that you never know what you will like or be interested in until you give them a shot. And just to think, it all started from a video game.
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