Young Stirlin Marlin can’t remember when his great-grandfather, Coo Coo Marlin, who dominated the racetrack at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway, winning a record four track titles between 1959-1966. Nor does he remember his grandfather, Sterling Marlin, winning three titles in a row before becoming a NASCAR Rookie of the Year and winner of back-to-back Daytona 500s. He also didn’t see his father, Steadman, become the third generation to win at the Fairgrounds.
But he does know what he, and others, would like to see: a fourth-generation Marlin in victory lane at the Fairgrounds.
The youngster, not yet old enough to get a driver’s license, is entered in the 100-lap Big Machine Pro Late Model Challenge on Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Castrol, the cap to a seven-race card, the last regular weekly event on the schedule.
“I’m excited," the youthful Marlin said. "This is such a big night for our family. I know that being the fourth generation to run on this track is something I look forward to doing.”
Granddad Sterling, normally reserved in his praise, was effusive about the newest member of the family to head to Nashville and the opportunity to race with him.
“It is a lot of work to get ready for this race, but I feel that Stirlin is ready for the Nashville track," the NASCAR legend said. "He knows what we expect. Stirlin has a natural talent that cannot be taught and he has a long career ahead of him.
"Hopefully, I will run Saturday night, and it will be fun to be out there with him. He is active in his search for sponsorships and looking forward to Saturday night.”
Stirlin understands the history and family lineage of racers at the track that includes not just his great-grandfather, grandfather and father, but also an aunt, Sutherlin Marlin House, and uncle, Michael House, who notched the track championship last year.
And he’s not concerned about his youth.
“I’m only 15, but I’ve got a good crew to help me," he said. "I’ve spent a lot of Saturday nights watching my grandfather, dad, aunt and uncle race here. Now it’s my turn.”
In addition to the PLM event, season finales to determine champions are scheduled in the Front Runner, Legends, Pure Stock, Street Modified, Limited Late Model and Super Truck divisions. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the first green flag at 5:45.