Kevin Lepage, a 38-year-old native of Shelburne, Vt., was named driver of the No.4 Kodak Chevy for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. Morgan-McClure Motorsports made the announcement on Thursday as a race-to-race deal ...
Kevin Lepage, a 38-year-old native of Shelburne, Vt., was named driver of the No.4 Kodak Chevy for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. Morgan-McClure Motorsports made the announcement on Thursday as a race-to-race deal until a final decision is made. Lepage quotes on opportunity:
"I have been racing 21 years. I have raced in about 15 or 16 races at Bristol with Winston Cup and Busch combined. We won in the Busch Grand National Series with the Channellock car in 1998. I know what the race track expects. We have had some good runs there in a Cup car and decent runs in a Busch car. The pressure will be on the race team to perform good here because this is their home track. It is so close to home for the Morgan-McClure race team. Larry McClure hired me to come in and do the best job we can. He wants me to communicate with the team, David Ifft and all of the guys.
"Ifft and I have had some contact through the years. Indirectly, since the times I have been in the Busch Series since 1994, we have communicated some. He is a well respected crew chief in the garage area with good people skills. He is a veteran that has been around many years. He has a lot of basic knowledge of what it takes to go fast and win races.
"One of the things I am excited about is the No.4 car has been to victory lane with Larry McClure. This team knows what it takes to win, and they will do what is needed to get back there. Larry is trying to put together the right combination of equipment and personnel to get back on top. This team already has the perfect marriage with their sponsor, Kodak. They have been together a long time. They are solid. I am just hoping I can be the third party and make it a long lasting combination.
"My only driving duties this weekend will be for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. I will not drive the Busch race this weekend. With that deal, I have a 15-race sponsorship agreement. Just in case something were to pop up and lo and behold here is the Kodak Chevy waiting for a driver.
"Larry and all of the guys up here at this race shop are putting all of the time and effort into making these race cars run up front week in and week out. Sometimes results are based on driver enthusiasm, being a team player, the chemistry between the driver and crew chief and the team members. There's not one particular thing that I think this team needs. I think it is a little bit here and there. I am hoping that my years of experience and my desire to win a race in Winston Cup will help provide some of the missing links needed. I am here to prove that I want to stay in Winston Cup and be a frontrunner.
"You know, I look at Johnny Benson and what he is doing right now and what he did last year. He took a team last year that was 45th in points and brought them to a top-15 in points. Now he is second in the standings. He was my teammate up in Liberty, NC. in 1998. We were running together in the back of the pack every week. We were both struggling with the equipment we were with, so I feel like I have an opportunity right now to do what Johnny is doing.
"Larry is giving me an opportunity by letting me drive Bristol this weekend. We will go to the track and try to get the job done. We will take whatever finish the race track will give us on Sunday, and we will sit down Monday and discuss further races. Then we'll move on from there."
<pre> Lepage has raced in six Winston Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway One year ago-March, 2000--St. 38th/Fin. 30th Last race at Bristol-August, 2000--St. 10th/Fin. 18th Best start--10th-August, 2000 Best finish--10th-August, 1998
Morgan-McClure stats at Bristol for past two years 8/2000--St. 20th/Fin. 34th--accident 3/2000--St. 8th/Fin. 15th 8/1999--St. 36th/Fin. 41 4/1999--St. 7th/Fin. 18th
**Morgan-McClure won its first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race with Ernie Irvan at Bristol in 1990. This was also Irvan's first win. Look for a tribute to that win and Bristol Motor Speedway's 40th anniversary on Sunday as the No. 4 Kodak Gold Film Chevrolet takes a pre-race lap around the track.