Marlin to get the axe

UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today, Ganassi will release Marlin. Reports have recently circulated that Sterling Marlin might not drive the final seven races of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing. Marlin, the guest driver on yesterday's weekly NASCAR Nextel Cup conference call, said he "feels pretty certain they'll honor the deal," but added: "Some things are out of your hands." The veteran driver from Columbia said he is "100 percent sure I won't be back (with Ganassi) next year," and said he is currently looking for a new ride. Marlin also announced plans to run Saturday's Busch race at the Nashville Superspeedway. Tennessean

When it comes to determining his future in the NASCAR Cup Series, it's a different matter. Marlin actively has several lines in the water trying to land a ride for next season. "I've been approached by some teams and I'm talking to some teams," Marlin said. Marlin said he hasn't officially received word that he won't be back for a ninth season with the team that Chip Ganassi bought from Felix Sabates in 2000. But Marlin knows which way the wind is blowing as Ganassi grows dissatisfied with not winning. High Point Enterprise

05/09/05 Sterling Marlin said last month that he didn't think he'd be back at Chip Ganassi Racing next year because the car owner had been reluctant to discuss a new contract with him. Ganassi said Marlin can change that via on-track performance. "Right now, we don't have a plan for Sterling for next year,'' Ganassi said. "But if he wins a couple of races, it's not like we can't change our plans.'' Assuming he needs a new job next season, garage speculation has him moving over to Richard Childress Racing to drive the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy that Dave Blaney currently pilots. Jack Daniels is a Tennessee-based company that would love to be represented by a home state driver. Busch series driver David Stremme, who is part of Ganassi's development program, is most commonly mentioned to replace Marlin in the #40 Dodge. RPM 05/02/05 Sterling Marlin already has said he’s “99 percent" sure he won’t be back driving for Chip Ganassi next year. Multiple sources in the garage indicate that a well-known liquor company has contacted at least one established team about putting Marlin in one of its cars next season. Speed Channel 04/08/05 Sterling Marlin said Friday he is "99.9% certain" that he won't be back with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Marlin, 47, has been driving for the team formerly owned by Felix Sabates since the start of the 1998 season. He's won four races with the team after having six victories in the previous four seasons at Morgan/McClure. Marlin, who will be making his 646th career Nextel Cup start in Sunday's Advance 500 at Martinsville Speedway, is in the final year of his contract. Marlin said he has a few very preliminary discussions with others about potential rides for 2006 and beyond, but nothing substantive yet. David Poole/

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