Levin Lepage Likes Darlington

Lepage likes 'driver's track' By Brett Borden This is a love story. Kevin Lepage and Darlington Raceway grew up on different sides of the Mason-Dixon line, but that doesn't matter. Cupid's arrow hit Lepage the moment he laid eyes on the ...

Lepage likes 'driver's track' By Brett Borden This is a love story. Kevin Lepage and Darlington Raceway grew up on different sides of the Mason-Dixon line, but that doesn't matter. Cupid's arrow hit Lepage the moment he laid eyes on the "Track Too Tough To Tame." His heart has been racing ever since.

"I fell in love with the place the first time I raced there in 1994," said Vermont native Lepage, driver of the No. 16 Familyclick.com Ford. "It's a driver's race track. It's old, it's worn out and the corners are different so you have to set your car up to be as good as possible in each of the four corners. But because they're different, you have to sacrifice a little bit."

Love is all about sacrifice. It also requires commitment, and plenty of compromise.

"The driver has to have a lot of tenacity to get around Darlington for 400 miles," Lepage said. "The racing surface wears the tires out quickly. You even wear the tires out rolling them out of the transporter and into the garage. It's a track that it's extra important to give and take. You can give up a spot early to gain three back later."

Lepage has courted Darlington four times in his brief NASCAR Winston Cup Series career. The first two times, in 1998, resulted in 34th- and 39th-place finishes. Then, she started to respond to Lepage's advances. He finished 22nd last spring and fifth in the Pepsi Southern 500 last fall.

"The FamilyClick team did great there last year with a top-5, which put us in the Winston 'No Bull 5' at Talladega," Lepage said. "We can't wait to get back there and go racing."

-nascar.com-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Lepage