Shepherd to drive Caterpillar Chevy at Dover DOVER, Del. (Sept. 14, 1998) Possibly the oldest driver to start Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup MBNA Gold 400 at the one-mile Dover Downs International Speedway will be behind the wheel of the ...
Shepherd to drive Caterpillar Chevy at Dover
DOVER, Del. (Sept. 14, 1998) Possibly the oldest driver to start Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup MBNA Gold 400 at the one-mile Dover Downs International Speedway will be behind the wheel of the Caterpillar Chevrolet. Morgan Shepherd, 56, will drive the Buz McCall-owned car this weekend. Shepherd is 15 days older than driver Dick Trickle. Dave Marcis turned 57 on March 1, and could be the oldest in the field Sunday.
The Caterpillar Chevrolet is coming off a 25th-place finish in Saturday night's Exide 400 at Richmond, Va., with Ted Musgrave as the driver. The car started 16th and moved into the top- 10 in the first half of the race but was caught in the pits by an inopportune caution flag, losing a lap.
Shepherd, who was recently released as the driver of the No. 91 LJ Racing Chevrolet and who has filled the seats of several cars in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series this season, has his sights set on a good finish at Dover.
"I'm looking forward to the chance to drive the car," Shepherd said. "I've always enjoyed racing at Dover, and I like the chance to race any time I can get it. Those guys (the Caterpillar team) have had a few rough spots this year but they've shown some pretty good signs too. Their run at Richmond this past weekend was a good one for them, and I think it showed what they are capable of doing. I'm hoping to give them a good ride."
Shepherd said every one of his "elderly" compatriots could be in the field this weekend.
"Age is a mental thing," he said. "If you think you're 90, then you might as well be 90. If you think you're 20, then you can be 20. That race car doesn't care how old I am. That race track doesn't care how old I am. All either one of them cares about is how good I can drive. I've seen guys in this sport, like Harry Gant and Bobby Allison and Richard Petty, drive in their 50's and be fantastic. And I've seen other guys who had trouble at 35. It's what you do, not how many years it took you to get there.
"I really haven't thought about being around the same age as Dave (Marcis) or (Dick) Trickle. Maybe we ought to start a club or something. I guess there are a couple of others who aren't that far behind us, and maybe a couple who are a little closer to us in age than they are willing to admit."
McCall, who will have his seventh driver in his car this weekend, is optimistic about Shepherd's chances.
"Even though the finish wasn't quite what we were hoping, we were pretty happy with what we accomplished at Richmond," McCall said. "Ted (Musgrave) did a great job for us, and the guys worked hard to get us there. It was a great feeling watching that Caterpillar creeping into the top-10 and, to be honest, I think we had a shot at finishing there if circumstances had worked for us. But they didn't, so we'll give it another shot this week.
"Morgan Shepherd is the kind of driver who can pull things out of a race car. He has always been able to climb into a race car and make it do things you didn't think race cars could do. We think he can give us a pretty good qualifying run and give us a good run in the race too.
"This race seems to be his race at Dover. I know he has two top-five finishes in the last seven fall races at Dover (third in 1991 and fifth in 1992). He knows that place, and I think he can do some pretty good things for us there. We're pretty excited about the possibilities."
Source: NASCAR Online