Kevin Lepage, driver of the No. 4 KODAK MAX Film Monte Carlo, was in his home state of Vermont last week when the events of the Nation unfolded. Lepage and his wife, Donna, host a charity golf tournament each year before the second New Hampshire race.
Kevin Lepage quotes:
"Last Tuesday morning a driver had called me in Vermont trying to find an airplane ride up to our golf tournament. I had called back to give him some information. His wife told me to turn on the television. I watched in disbelief as the second plane hit the World Trade Center. It did not seem real. I asked my wife, Donna, if this was really real or some movie.
"We had several autograph sessions leading up to the golf tournament on Thursday. It was interesting to hear all of the ties to New York that people in Vermont had. It was a way for the people to get out and talk about it with others. One police officer had worked in New York City with several of his comrades that were now missing.
"The tournament went well, especially based on the circumstances. Many of the drivers that were signed up to participate could not travel because of closed air space. We raised $31, 000.00. We are donating $18,000.00 to the Vermont Cancer Society, $3000.00 to a camp for children with cancer and $5000.00 to the New York Relief Fund (Red Cross).
"Burlington National Airport was closed until Saturday. Donna and I either had to stay and wait it out or drive home. We chose to drive back to North Carolina in a van that was sent up to carry auction and golf tournament items. It was not bad. We left at 9:00 A.M. on Friday and arrived home in North Carolina at 11:00 that night.
"The traffic was heavy, but we did not go through D.C. The strange thing was not seeing but two airplanes in the sky the entire trip.
"The FAA really did an impressive job of making security changes in a short period of time. People in our sport have to use planes to travel, commercial and private. People are still leery about flying. Several people I have talked to in the industry will remain uneasy about flying, especially commercial, for some time.
"The exact impact on NASCAR remains to be seen. Extra security measures at race tracks will be in place. I really think the economical impact will be the greatest. There are so many teams, Busch and Winston Cup, looking for sponsors. The results on the economy will affect the outcome of those teams.
"We will all grieve in our own way, but we will go on. Will we ever forget the impact of these events? I doubt it. The attacks will be talked about for many years to come.
"Our team will move on to Dover, hopefully, with a renewed stamina. I will participate in the Busch and Winston Cup events of the weekend."