The 35-lap feature turned into a battle between Sterling Marlin and Rusty Wallace, but in the end, Marlin had the field covered, winning $25,000 for a charity of his choice.
“I’d like to thank all the guys on my crew,” Marlin said. “Everything worked perfect. I’d like to thank the fans for sticking around and watching this.”
Marlin’s celebrity partner Andy Petree won his 15-lap heat in the celebrity portion of the event, allowing Marlin to start on the pole.
Marlin took it from there, holding off a field of drivers that included Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Harry Gant and L.D. Ottinger.
“My partner Andy Petree drove his guts out,” Marlin noted.
Wallace quickly moved into second place but was never able to put any serious heat on Marlin.
“I was just a little short,” Wallace said. “I was a little tight, but Sterling just flat beat me. I just had a good time. It meant a lot to me.”
The surprise of the evening was L.D. Ottinger, a native of Newport, Tenn. The 70-year-old drove a car so loose it came out of turn four sideways on a couple of occasions, but he managed to move it through the field to secure a third-place finish.
“It’s my second time in a race car in 15 years, Ottinger said. “This was a lot of fun. It ran good.”
Johnson struggled after wrecking his car in practice. His crew was able to get the No. 11 machine onto the track, but the damage was pretty severe.
“I hadn’t been in a car in about 45 years, so I thought I did pretty well,” Johnson said. “This place is really hard. You have to be in good condition to run it.”