WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Clifton "Coo-Coo" Marlin, whose love of auto racing eventually led to three generations of drivers, died Sunday.
Mr. Marlin was 73. He had been suffering from lung cancer.
Coo-Coo Marlin was a farmer and cattleman who raced on and off through the 1960s and 1970s. He never scored an official victory, but he derived great satisfaction in 1994 when his son Sterling won the Daytona 500.
The elder Marlin is generally considered to be the first driver from middle Tennessee to rise to national prominence in NASCAR. The Marlins live in Columbia, Tenn., and Sterling Marlin continues to live there.
Marlin was one of the sport's earliest stars, a hard-nosed racer who made his name racing around the short tracks in Tennessee and Alabama.
He became a regular at the Tennessee Fairgrounds, running against the likes of Bobby and Donnie Allison and Red Farmer.
Marlin won his first title at the Fairgrounds in 1959. He added titles in 1962, then again in 1966 and 1967. His four titles are a record at the track.
Marlin moved onto NASCAR, where he made 165 Cup starts from 1966 to 1980. He had no wins, but earned nine top-fives and 51 top-10 finishes. His series best points finish was 20th in the 1975 season.
Sterling Marlin left Watkins Glen on Thursday to be with his father, who passed away early Sunday morning. Scott Pruett will drive Marlin's No. 40 Dodge in Sunday's Sirius at the Glen.
The Marlins have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Coo-Coo's name to the American Lung Association.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Is it september the 8th yet???