Race report from Sunday, June 21, 1981
Sterling Marlin Wins Yawner
By LARRY WOODY
If it had been a prize fight, they’d have stopped it after the fifth lap. It was all over by then.
But they don’t have referees or bells in auto racing. So Sterling Marlin continued to pour it on, turning last night’s 50-lap Grand American feature race at Nashville International Raceway into another yawner.
Marlin has now won all six races of the season, dominating the division like it has never been done before. Don Smith of Gurley, Ala., was the only driver in the same lap with Marlin at the end, and he was a mere speck in the distance.
A number of fast cars showed up in the 19-car field, lured to town by the $400 bounty placed on Marlin by the Speedway. They went home empty-handed.
Marlin won the pole position and second-fastest qualifier Phil Grissom appeared determined to make a race of it. But his hood came loose on the second lap, and he lost a lap on the pit stop. Six laps later, he dropped out with engine trouble.
Tony Cunningham, who qualified fourth behind Smith, was challenging for the lead when his engine blew. Nos. 6 and 7 starters Al Henderson and Dorris Vaughn also were forced out with mechanical problems.
Marlin had two big leads wiped out by caution flags but shrugged off the lost time and went on to coast to victory. It was just another night at the office for the 23-year old Columbia Comet.