Bristol, TN (August 22, 1999) ... In the world of NASCAR, being in the right place at the right time can often lead to success. Such was the case for Kevin Lepage in the 1998 Food City 250 Busch Series event at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Running...
Bristol, TN (August 22, 1999) ... In the world of NASCAR, being in the right place at the right time can often lead to success. Such was the case for Kevin Lepage in the 1998 Food City 250 Busch Series event at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Running fourth on lap 243, Lepage somehow avoided a multi-car accident that eliminated nine competitors including several of the front-running cars. Lepage would restart the "four lap shootout" in the second position. The final four laps of the '98 Food City 250 remain very clear in Lepage's memory.
"I had run in the top ten all night," Lepage remembered. "I was very fortunate to make it through the 'big wreck' with less than ten laps remaining. When we restarted, I was in second behind Dale Jarrett. I knew that I'd probably only have one good shot at getting by him (Jarrett) and I had to make it work. Coming out of turn two as we were racing to the white flag, I was able to get under him and make the pass. Somehow, I held him off and got my first short track Busch Series win. It was a big thrill to win at Bristol under the lights."
Lepage led only thirteen total laps in his '98 Food City 250 victory. He took the lead on lap 70 from pole winner Steve Grissom and led for eleven laps. The only other laps Lepage led all night were the final two!
The Shelburne, Vermont driver will return to "racing's fastest half-mile" as the chauffeur of the #99 Red Man Chevrolet. The Food City 250 will be his 11th start in the Brewco Motorsports/J&J Racing entry this season. Lepage has posted two top-five and four top-ten finishes in his ten races. His best finish was 4th at Atlanta in March. Lepage has twice qualified third in Busch Series short track races this season - Nashville and Richmond. But, the only Vermont native to ever win a NASCAR Busch Series race is still searching for his first '99 win.
"I've really had a good car this year on the short tracks," Lepage commented. "Unfortunately, at both Nashville and Richmond, mechanical problems kept us from challenging for the win. Dan (Crew Chief Gibbs) and the Red Man Team have really worked hard all year to give me the best possible car each race. It's time for us to celebrate in victory lane."
Lepage, who is driving a limited Busch Series schedule in addition to his full-time Winston Cup ride, will compete at Richmond, Charlotte, Rockingham, Memphis, and Homestead after the Food City 250. Lepage has two career Busch Series wins - Homestead in '96 and last August at Bristol.
"Bristol is a very fast track where accidents can happen before you know it," Lepage concluded. "I love the excitement of racing at Bristol in front of that huge crowd under the lights. A victory at Bristol is one that every driver cherishes. Now, I want number two. Maybe I'll be in the right place at the right time again. History does repeat itself, right?"
The Food City 250 will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, August 27th. Qualifying for the entire starting field will be at 4 p.m. ET. ESPN will provide live television coverage with the Performance Racing Network handling the radio coverage.