Continuing Family Tradition, Sutherlin Marlin About To Take Wheel

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IMarch 27, 2009

Her father has 10 wins and over 200 top tens in his 20-plus year career, not to mention her grandfather raced against legends like Bobby and Donnie Allison.

But now, it's the 19-year-old daughter of Sterling Marlin, Sutherlin's, time to shine in the world of racing.

The youngest Marlin is expected to make her debut at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Columbia, Tenn., this coming weekend—the same track where her grandfather and father won a combined seven championships.

Talk about a lot to live up too. But her proud papa Sterling seems to be pretty confident in his little girl.

“She’s got talent,” he said. “When she was five or six we went to a go-kart track in Panama City and she raced against [big brother] Steadman and a bunch of other boys and beat them. She’s been on to me to get her a race car, and finally we cut a deal.”

Sutherlin, a student at Columbia State, also works on her own cars and works at a local restaurant.

“My dad worked hard when he was getting started and he expects me to do the same,” Sutherlin said.

The third-generation star is no stranger to sports—she tells The Daily Herald that she attended her first race at two weeks old, and was a star track, volleyball, basketball, and softball player until injuries ended her career.

Now, she's turning to the family pastime: racin'.

“I told her if she’s going to race, then race with the big boys,” says Sterling, who plans to run some Late Model races at the Fairgrounds this season, while Steadman runs a full schedule. “We’ll find out pretty fast if she’s got it or not.”

“I’ll be cautious, especially at first,” Sutherlin says, “but I won’t be intimidated.”