Eggleston's return to Daytona draws mixed emotions A return trip to the salt air breezes and the grass roots of motorsports, once a welcome summer stop, is evoking various views from those within the NASCAR community. As the Winston Cup tour...
Eggleston's return to Daytona draws mixed emotions
A return trip to the salt air breezes and the grass roots of motorsports, once a welcome summer stop, is evoking various views from those within the NASCAR community. As the Winston Cup tour begins the start of a treacherous 20 week non-stop run, a trip to Daytona is met with hesitation, or maybe the unexpected.
Scott Eggleston, the newly named crew chief for the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo, certainly has an array of emotions heading into the Pepsi 400. It will mark his first trip back to the 2.5 mile speedway where he won the big one, the Daytona 500, in February. Of course that brings a sense of pride to the Springfield, Va., native. On the flip side, it will also be the first time back to where his boss, at the time, lost his life and was unable to share in the joy of a new team's first win.
Eggleston is moving forward. He is now trying to add to the five wins of Morgan-McClure Motorsports at the famed Speedway. Two of those wins came in the summer events in 1992 and 1996, with Ernie Irvan and Sterling Marlin, respectively.
"If a team has a good car and a lot of luck at Daytona, it can be in the hunt for a win at the end of the race. We more or less got lucky in the Daytona 500 this year. Everything was in place for a win. I knew we had a good chance, but a win was unexpected.
"The competition is tough, so we just have to try to be a little better, a little smarter than the rest. I am happy to be with Morgan-McClure Motorsports. I have known Larry (McClure) a long time. He and I have talked about me coming over to the team for a couple of years. We have a good car to take to Daytona. We just need some luck to go with it.
"I have mixed emotions about returning to Daytona. We will not forget what happened there with Earnhardt. I think realizing that it happened to him is what really hit home. I went through this last year with Kenny Irwin. It was a tough situation. Then to go through all of the emotions at Daytona, only to learn what had happened. I worked with two of our drivers that we lost within a year.
"We just have to go on. I will never forget either one, but we just go on. I stay busy. The busier I keep myself, the more I do not think about it.
"The win in February was important. Earnhardt hired me to help get the new team a first win. We accomplished that the first time out.
"I want to help Kevin Lepage get his first Winston Cup victory. Morgan-McClure wants to visit victory lane again. They want to help Lepage get his first Cup win. I think we all have reachable goals that we can work together as a team and accomplish."
Larry McClure, owner No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo
"We are trying to focus on the positives of Daytona. It has been a good place for our team. We have a good car to take for the race. With Morgan- McClure's success there, Eggleston's Daytona 500 win there in February and Lepage's expertise, I think we will be competitive.
"Morgan-McClure is happy to have Scott Eggleston join our team. We feel he is an asset. He is getting settled-in here at the shop this week. We will continue our push back up towards where we need to be. Eggleston and Lepage seem to have the chemistry needed to help excel the process.
"Our thoughts are with the Earnhardt's as they have to face the return to Daytona. It will be difficult for many, but they are the ones that really need our support right now."
Kevin Lepage, driver of the No. 4 KODAK MAX Film Monte Carlo, quotes
"I am excited about going to Daytona with the previous winning crew chief. Scott has a lot of positive ideas about Daytona. We have a winning crew chief, a team that has several wins there and a driver that wants a first win. It seems that would be a good combination to be in the running for a win when the checker flag drops.
"Scott is full of new ideas. He brings experience and organization with him to Morgan-McClure. In just the short time we have worked together, I feel confident that we can accomplish some good race outcomes together. Larry has really worked hard to put together a group of talented individuals that can communicate and get along. I think the results will show soon."