DeGRAFF — Sterling Marlin has dominated at Daytona International Speedway. He’s taken the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway. And he’s crossed the line first at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
And Saturday, he takes on Shady Bowl Speedway.
Marlin, the two-time Daytona 500 champion, will bring his No. 114 late model up from Columbia, Tenn., to compete in the Bobby Korn and Lil’ Bobby Korn Memorial 72-lap, $1,720-to-win feature.
Shady Bowl promoter Rick Young offered some advice for Marlin on his first visit to the ‘Bowl.
“Bring some motor and have that car prepared good,” Young said. “Our track is pretty unique. You go up a hill at one end and down the hill at the other.”
Shady Bowl’s marketing team contacted Marlin to see if he’d be interested in racing at Shady Bowl. Marlin, 60, competes regularly at The Fairgrounds in Nashville, a 5/8th-mile track that boasts to have produced more NASCAR drivers than any track. The Fairgrounds is also the oldest running short track in the country.
“We thought we’d go up there and try it out,” said Marlin, who said he accepts about 10 invitations from race at tracks per year. “We don’t know a whole lot about it. We’ve raced in Pensacola, Nashville, Missouri, Michigan. We should be in pretty good shape.”
As part of Marlin’s appearance, Shady Bowl plans on having an autograph session for fans with paid admission to the track. So, what’s the most unusual item he’s been asked to autograph? A baby diaper.
“Unused. Unused,” Marlin was quick to note. “It’s (a thrill) to see people still come out and support me.”
Marlin said he receives a positive reaction on the track from other competitors. It’s a thrill for a local driver to be able to say they beat a two-time Daytona 500 champion, and Marlin realizes locals are out to defend their home track.
“Some do race me hard. Some do since we’re the new guy in town,” Marlin said. “We’ll try to run as good as we can. … I don’t want to run 10th. The goal is to win. We’ll give it a shot.”
The Bobby Korn and Lil’ Bobby Korn Memorial honors Miamisburg’s award-winning mechanic and his grandson, both of Miamisburg. The elder Korn won hundreds of races and numerous track championships working with some of racing’s best drivers. He was a car owner and builder for 70 years and also participated in the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. The elder Korn passed away in 2011 at the age of 83. The younger Korn passed away in January at the age of 31.
Young anticipates a larger crowd and hopefully a larger car count with drivers wanting to race with a former NASCAR star.
“The drivers are really excited about it,” Young said. “They’re some stiff competition and they say he better bring his A game.”
“We want to see all the fans come out,” added Marlin. “Get a win for them. That’s what we’re going to try and do.”