40 Days until the Daytona 500

 

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #40 car has started 943 races with 100 drivers and has 9 wins, 4 poles, 46 top 5s, 142 top 10s, and 268 DNFs.

  • D.K. Ulrich  was an owner/driver who started his #40 machine 178 times from 1971-1981. Ulrich never earned a win, but as an independent owner would provide rides for future and current stars like Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Mark Martin, Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd, Tim Richmond, Sterling Marlin, and Kyle Petty.

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  • Pete Hamilton drove the #40 in 15 races for Petty Enterprises in 1970, earning 3 of his 4 career wins. Hamilton’s first win came in the 1970 Daytona 500 and he would go on to sweep the season’s races at Talladega. He retired from full-time racing in 1971 because of a neck injury suffered in a Grand American race in 1969. Hamilton, Age 73, resides in Newton, Massachusetts.
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Hamilton, 1970

 

  • In 1993 Kenny Wallace drove the #40, a new car for SABCO Racing owned by Felix Sabates and teammate to Kyle Petty’s #42. In 30 starts Kenny had 3 top 10s, and left to pursue other opportunities in 1994.
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Kenny Wallace, 1993

 

  • Bobby Hamilton took over for Kenny Wallace in 1994, but Sabates sold the #40 car team to Dick Brooks midway through the season. Hamilton earned one top 10 in 30 starts.

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  • Greg Sacks, Rich Bickle, and others all started #40 for Brooks in 1995, but after an unsuccessful season Brooks sold the team back to SABCO.
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Greg Sacks, 1995

 

  • 1996-1997 would see the #40 being run part time by SABCO driven by multiple drivers including Steve Park, Greg Sacks, and Joe Nemecheck. The most prominent of these part timers was Robby Gordon who started 22 races over 2 years including 1 top 5, a 4th place finish at Watkins Glen in 1997.
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Robby Gordon, 1997

 

  • Sterling Marlin  has the most starts in #40 with 274 from 1999-2005 & 2008. 4 of Marlins 10 career wins came in the #40. Sterling Joined SABCO in 1998 and immediately found success winning his Gatorade 125  qualifying race at Daytona. The next week at Rockingham, however, he failed to qualify for the first time since 1986. Marlin and SABCO would have mixed results over the next 2 year, 2000 being affected by the loss of SABCO teammate Kenny Irwin Jr.
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Marlin, 2003
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Marlin after winning his 1998 125 Qualifying Race in 1998

 

In 2001, CART owner Chip Ganassi bought a majority stake in SABCO turning the team into Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and the team switched manufacturers to Dodge for their return to NASCAR. Marlin immediately found controversy after a last lap bump in the Daytona 500 while trying to pass Dale Earnhardt would result in a crash  that took Earnhardt’s life and rocked the sports world. In the weeks following Marlin recieved hate mail from fans who thought he was responsible, but Sterling was cleared of any wrong doing by NASCAR and DEI drivers Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. stuck up for Marlin in the media. In 2001 at Michigan  Marlin won the first race in a Dodge since 1977, and he would also win at Charlotte later in the year.

2002 would be a career year for Marlin. He was leading the Daytona 500 when, under a late red flag, he got out of his car  and tried to pull a damaged fender away from his tire. Since NASCAR rules forbid working on the car under red flag conditions, Marlin was black flagged and Ward Burton would win the race.

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Marlin, 2002 Daytona 500

The next week at Rockingham Marlin would finish 2nd and took the points lead, which he would hold onto for 24 weeks. Marlin followed this second place finish with a win at the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400  at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but not without controversy. A miscommunication by NASCAR officials caused Marlin to get away with speeding on pit road. Marlin would also win the 2002Carolina Dodge Dealers 400  which would end up being his final career win. Later that year at Kansas  Sterling would make contact with Jeff Burton and slam the outside wall cracking a vertebra  in his neck. This injury caused Marlin to miss the final 7 races of the season and cost him the championship.

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Marlin, 2002

Sterling would return to #40 in 2003 but would never find victory lane again. In 2004 Ganassi announced that David Stremme would take over the #40 car for the 2006 season. Despite offers from other teams like RCR, Marlin honored his contract to drive the #40 car for the rest of 2004 and the 2005 season. Marlin would return  to drive his #40 Ganassi car for 2 races in 2008, filling in for the injured Dario Franchitti.

Sterling Marlin and Reed Sorenson
Marlin, 2008
  • Following Sterling’s Injury in 2002 Mike Bliss  drove the #40 for one race. For the remaining 6 races, Busch Series (now XFINITY) standout Jamie McMurray  would drive the #40 car before switching to Ganassi’s #42 car for the 2003 season. McMurray would win  at Charlotte in only his second ever Cup start, a NASCAR record.
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Mike Bliss, 2002
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McMurray, 2002

 

  • In 2006 David Stemme  would take over the #40 Silver Bullet ride from Sterling Marlin. Stemme made 71 stars in #40, but would be released after the 2007 season. 2007 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti replaced Stremme for 2008, but after 10 starts an injured foot would keep him out of the car for 4 weeks. During this time, Stremme, Marlin, and Jeremy Mayfield all mades starts in the #40. Lack of sponsorship would then cause the 40 car to cease operations, and Franchitti returned to IndyCar.
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David Stremme, 2006
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Dario Franchitti, 2008
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Jeremy Mayfield, 2008

 

  • In 2013 Hillman-Circle Sport started fielding #40 with drivers Tony Raines  and Landon Cassill with 4 and 12 starts, respectively. In 2014 Cassill ran the full Sprint Cup Schedule qualifying for 34 of 36 races including his career best 4th place finish at Talladega. Cassill returned to the car for all 36 races in 2015 without scoring a top-10.
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Raines, 2013
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Cassill, 2014

 

 

Other notable names in #40

  • Slick Johnson, 11 starts
  • Rex White, 4 starts
  • Tim Richmond, 4 starts.
  • Bobby Allison, 4 starts.
  • Ricky Rudd, 3 starts
  • Joe Weatherly, 1 start
  • Scott Pruett, 3 starts.
  • Randy LaJoie, 1 start
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