Coo Coo Marlin
Clifton "Coo Coo" Marlin (January 3, 1932 – August 14, 2005) was a NASCAR Winston Cup driver who spent 14 years in the series.
Marlin earned a name for himself at the short tracks in Tennessee and Alabama, running against Red Farmer, Bobby Allison, and Donnie Allison. He was a four-time track champion at Nashville Speedway USA (now Music City Motorplex).
Donnie Allison is credited with the win but Darrell Waltrip finished the race for an over-heated Donnie Allison after Darrell Waltrip dropped out of the race after 106 laps. Points are always scored by the driver, who starts the race.
Coo Coo was a speedway favorite with a lot of kids during the 1960s. He drove a fire-engine red 1964 Chevrolet Impala, #711, and was the first real "hero" to many youngsters. During this time, he and his racing "nemesis," Charlie Binkley #125, continuously thrilled audiences with their often nail-biting finishes. Coo Coo was always available for photos and autographs in the pits after a race. His brother, Jack Marlin, was also a crowd favorite.
Discovery I was built by Captain Charles M. ("Jim") Binkley Jr., who had started a tour business on the rivers near Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1950. For the first five years of operation, Binkley used a converted missionary boat, the Godspeed, to conduct the tours. By 1954, Binkley was in need of a larger boat due to increased passenger volume, and made plans to build a stern-wheel riverboat similar to ones he had piloted earlier in his career as a riverboat captain.
Marlin advanced to part-time rides on the NASCAR Grand National circuit, starting with one race in 1966 and three in 1967. Coo Coo ran more of the schedule as the series changed from Grand National to Winston Cup, but he never competed in more than 23 races in any season. He never won a race in his 165 Winston Cup starts from 1966 to 1980, but he had nine Top 5 and 51 Top 10 finishes, with many of those starts in a car numbered 14. However, in 1973, Marlin won a non points race, with one of the Duel races at Daytona that year.
Marlin died in his hometown of Columbia, Tennessee on August 14, 2005 of lung cancer at the age of 73.