Tell me how to drive, please Winston Cup wife serves as spotter for husband Have you ever had a spouse or a parent tell you how to drive? This action from a significant other is normally accepted with much annoyance from the driver of the...
Tell me how to drive, please
Winston Cup wife serves as spotter for husband
Have you ever had a spouse or a parent tell you how to drive? This action from a significant other is normally accepted with much annoyance from the driver of the vehicle. However, in the case of Kevin and Donna Lepage, the pilot of the No. 4 KODAK MAX Film Monte Carlo does not mind accepting guidance and suggestions on driving from his wife.
Although it is a little different while driving at speeds in excess of 140 mph. Donna, who served as the Morgan-McClure Motorsports spotter for the Pocono 500 last Sunday, is one of the only wives to spot in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
The Vermont native began spotting for her husband back in the late eighties while he was honing his driving skills in the ACT (American-Canadian Tour). As they progressed to other divisions, so did the job of spotter for Donna. She currently spots for Kevin on a weekly basis in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series for the No. 71 Matrix Motorsports entry, which they own. When he began driving in the division in 1994, she spotted for him then, as well.
Her first stint as a spotter in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series came in 1997 for her husband while he drove the Joe Falk-owned Chevrolet. Nowadays, Donna takes on the active role of Winston Cup wife, instead of spotter. She is happy with the opportunity to take over the position of team spotter again in the coming weeks for the familiar yellow No. 4 Chevrolet. She would rather be standing on top of the spotter's stand then sitting on top of the pit cart.
With all of the controversy surrounding a driver's safety during the 2001 season, Donna feels more at ease watching her husband navigate his way around the tracks. Her experience usually lets see how bad a wreck is when one happens. A bird's eye view also lets the spotter see movement in a race car before anyone else.
Donna does not tell her spouse how to drive a race car, but her advice is greatly appreciated. Kevin is one man that does not mind the wife giving him direction while driving. Donna Lepage Quotes
"Back in the days when radios for communication first came out up North, there were two per team. One radio was placed in the car for the driver and the other was used for the spotter. So logically, Kevin handed the radio to his Dad to spot for him. Well, his Father got so busy watching the race that he forgot to watch Kevin. Needless to say he did not do a lot of spotting for him, so the next race Kevin handed the radio to me.
"It was all so new. All of a sudden someone got radios, then it was the thing to do. Everyone got radios. We did not know what to do, but somebody had to learn. It just so happened to be me.
"They did not provide us with spotter stands or anything. We were in the pit area. So what I used to do is take a trash can and flip it upside down and stand on it so I could see more of the race track. The pit crews did not have many people on them back then, so no one could give up a position to leave the pit stall. They were needed for their duty there.
"I have always spotted for Kevin in the Busch Series. A few weeks ago at Dover, I had a virus and could not talk. I was not able to spot for him. That was the first time ever in that series, I think. It was different watching the race from the pits. Those guys do not race the same as the Cup guys do. They do not race each other with as much respect.
"When Kevin drove the No. 91 for Joe Falk, I spotted for him. Then when we went over to Roush, they had their own spotters. And Kevin thought it was time for me to become a Winston Cup wife. He wanted me to be in the pits.
"I hated it. I still hate it. He does not understand that watching the races is important to me. I feel like I have a safety factor if I can watch him, especially if he wrecks. I know that sounds awful. I told Ron Pegram, a Motor Racing Outreach minister, that years ago. I can watch him wreck better than I can not watch him wreck, because when it cannot be seen, the worst is envisioned. There have been times when the connection to his radio was knocked loose in an accident and he could not be heard, but I could see him moving around or the window net drop. It is just a comfort level for me to see him race. Plus, I enjoy watching him drive the car.
"I am excited about the opportunity to spot for him and Morgan-McClure several times in the upcoming weeks. I am not sure which races it will be, but I will be looking forward to it."
Kevin Lepage, driver of the No. 4 KODAK MAX Film Monte Carlo, quotes
"If I had my way about Donna spotting for me, I would have her on the pit box. I want her to enjoy the celebration of being introduced and pre-race festivities. I also want her to be the last person to say good luck while I am in the car.
"Right now we do not have a full time spotter. Jerry McClure is helping his son Eric in the NASCAR Late Model division on Saturday nights. Gary Grossenbacher, the team engineer, does a great job. His wife has cancer and has had several operations lately. So Gary cannot leave her. Larry McClure has asked Donna if she will spot on occasion during the next few weeks.
"She does a great job. I do enjoy having her up there. But I hope we can get our spotter back so she can enjoy the beginning of the race. I would rather have her with me on pit road. It is important to me to get a kiss goodbye or a handshake goodbye before the start of the race. This is a dangerous sport and you never know what could happen.
"I do feel comfortable having her up there on the spotter's stand. It started in the eighties. She has been there ever since on and off. She does my Busch deal every week. Donna is a good spotter.
"There have been situations when we were at a race track and she was not spotting for me and people have hired her to spot for them. They like the way she does her job. She does not take any crap up there from the other spotters. They work very good with her. She has gained respect in the garage and the reputation of doing a good job of spotting. This is something my wife takes seriously.
"Probably the one thing I like best about Donna spotting for me is she does not get excited. If there is a wreck or something she tries to get me through it. She does not scream or raise her voice or lose her focus. She does not cuss the guys if I am involved in a wreck. The entire job is handled very professionally.
"Some advice is offered on trying a different line around the track. If she sees me charging the corners or whatever, she lets me know about it. It is a unique situation, but one that is quite normal to us."
NOTE: A small scale investagation was conducted at Pocono Raceway and it appears that Donna is the only modern-era Winston Cup wife to spot for her husband. Lynn, wife of Winston Cup driver Todd Bodine, has spotted in the Busch Grand National series for her husband. Saying that Donna is the only one is NOT a positive statement from Morgan-McClure. We do not KNOW of others.