Contact: T. Coons fax 704 556-0470 704 552-6933 May 19, 1997 PIT ROAD TRAFFIC JAM CREATES PROBLEMS FOR LEPAGE Kevin Lepage and the Ridling Motorsports team where looking for another top-ten...
Contact: T. Coons fax 704 556-0470 704 552-6933 May 19, 1997
PIT ROAD TRAFFIC JAM CREATES PROBLEMS FOR LEPAGE
Kevin Lepage and the Ridling Motorsports team where looking for another top-ten finish at the CoreStates Advantage 200, but major pit road confusion delayed Lepage's pit stop exit. Lepage went into the pits in sixth place, but came out in 14th after being pinned in on pit road. Lepage started the #88 HYPE - Ryder Driver Recruiting Monte Carlo ninth on the grid for NASCAR Busch Grand National's 13th event of the season. His fast lap time of 28.220 seconds (127.964 mph) around Nazareth Speedway's 1-mile oval put Lepage in his third top-ten starting position this season. Busch Pole winner Elliott Sadler set a new track record with a time of 27.762 seconds (129.674 mph). There were only 35 teams on hand for the combined NASCAR BGN South and BGN North event, so all drivers made the field. Lepage had maneuvered his way into sixth place when the field went back to green after the second of seven caution periods. The fifth caution came out on Lap 99 for debris on the back straight. Most of the leaders had planned a one-pit stop race, so this timely caution was welcome. The majority of cars on the lead lap took advantage of the situation to come in for four tires and fuel. Since the pit road stalls are extremely tight for stock cars, several drivers were pinned in their stalls. The #88 Monte Carlo crew had Lepage ready to go back on track, but there was no way to get out. When Glenn Allen came in to pit next to Lepage, there was not enough room to completely pull into his pit, so he angled his car in nose first, blocking Lepage's exit. After Lepage backed up several times to get around Allen, he hit a tire rolling across pit road. Joe Bessey also hit a tire in the confusion. Lepage's pit road mishap left him in 14th place on the restart. Lepage developed a handling problem, but managed to hang onto 14th place through the last two caution periods. With less than 20 laps to go, Lepage was passed by Jeff Green, leaving him in a disappointing 15th place. Elliott Sadler blocked a late charge from Todd Bodine to win his first ever NASCAR BGN race. Kevin Lepage and the #88 HYPE - Ryder Driver Recruiting Team are looking forward to Charlotte this Saturday where Lepage finished seventh last fall. "We have a good car ready for Charlotte," commented Lepage. "Charlotte is always such an important race for everyone. We did well there last year, so the crew has a lot of confidence going in. That always helps at Charlotte."