NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sterling Marlin, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, underwent deep brain stimulation surgery earlier this week at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The surgery, the third of four surgery stages, is a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Marlin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012.
“On behalf of my father and our family, I would like to thank each and every one of you that have been supportive of my father throughout the years. It truly means the world to all of us,” said Marlin’s daughter, Sutherlin Marlin. “Parkinson’s is a roller coaster physically and emotionally for both the individual and family. After considerable thought, research and consultations with numerous doctors and specialists, my dad decided to undergo deep brain stimulation surgery. We ask that you send prayers for a successful final surgery and recovery.”
Deep brain stimulation delivers electrical pulses to brain cells to decrease symptoms. It is the most commonly performed surgical treatment for Parkinson’s.
Marlin underwent the first of the four surgeries on March 11. Once the final surgery is completed, recovery is expected to take four months, but can vary depending on the patient.
The 61-year-old Tennessee native made 748 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series during his career, which spanned 33 years. He earned 10 victories during that time, including two in the Daytona 500 in 1994 and ’95.
The best seasons of his career came in 2001 and 2002. He won four times in two years and finished third in the Cup Series standings in 2001. He led the series standings for most of 2002 before an injury to his neck late in the year ended his season.
After running his last NASCAR Cup Series race in 2009, Marlin returned to his roots. He’s raced weekly at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in Tennessee for the last several years despite battling Parkinson’s disease.
According to a statement released by his race team, the goal is for Marlin to return to racing once he recovers from the deep brain stimulation surgery.