Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kevin Lepage

Kevin Lepage was born on June 26th of 1962 in Shelburne, Vermont.

Between 1982 and 1986, Lepage raced on the short tracks of the Northeast, primarily Catamount Speedway in Vermont and Thunder Road in Barre, Vermont.

Lepage made his Busch (Nationwide) Series debut in 1986 at Oxford Plains Speedway, starting 41st and finishing 15th in the #09 Buick.

In 1987, Lepage formed his own race team and competed on the American-Canadian Tour (A.C.T.) through the 1993 season with mediocre success.

He became a Busch (Nationwide) Series regular in 1994, in his self-owned #71 Vermont Teddy Bear Company car. He had a best finish of 9th at New Hampshire International Speedway, and he finished the year off 24th in points.

The 1995 season resulted in five top 10's and finishing 18th in points. At the end of the season, he lost his sponsorship from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

He ran 1996 unsponsored with his own team until April when he then joined David Ridling and his #88 Ridling Motorsports team with sponsorship from Ridling's own Farmer's Choice Fertilizer. He won his first career race at the season finale Jiffy Lube Miami 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished eighth in points with 1 win, 3 Top 5's and 10 Top 10's.

He ran most of the 1997 season driving for Ridling before leaving due to the team losing his sponsor. Lepage would finish out the year running for Phoenix Motorsports and ST Motorsports. He finished 12th in points, posting 3 Top 5's and 6 Top 10's. Lepage had his Winston (Sprint) Cup debut by qualifying for the Fall Charlotte race in the #91 LJ Racing car in an impressive 12th; he also ran two more races that year.

Lepage made the move to the Winston (Sprint) Cup Series full-time in 1998, driving for LJ Racing. Despite the team's lack of sponsorship, Lepage posted two fourteenth-place finishes, catching the eye of the multi-million dollar team owner Jack Roush. Lepage announced his decision to depart LJ Racing in late June 1998 and sat out 6 races to work out the details of the new contract with Roush. He would drive the #16 Primestar Ford Taurus in place of Ted Musgrave, who was released after Lepage's hiring. He earned a pair of top-10 finishes in 13 races for Roush, his best finish being a sixth place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Despite missing several races, he nearly won the Rookie of the Year battle. Lepage also drove in the Busch (Nationwide) series for Doug Taylors’ #40 team with sponsorship from Channellock. Lepage finished 14th in points despite only starting 24 races out of 31 in the Busch (Nationwide) Series. Lepage won his second career Busch (Nationwide) race at the August Food City 250 at Bristol and won his first career pole at the June MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover. He finished the year with 1 win, 6 Top 5’s, and 10 Top 10's.

Lepage returned in 1999 with sponsorship from Primestar. In April his sponsorship from Primestar was replaced with TV Guide. He had two top-tens and won the pole at the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, earning him a 25th-place point’s finish. Lepage also ran in the Busch (Nationwide) Series driving the #99 J&J Racing/Brewco Motorsports car with sponsorship from Red Man. He finished 35th in points with 14 starts, 2 Top 5's and 6 Top 10's.

He began 2000 unsponsored, before picking up backing from Familyclick.com. He failed to qualify twice and finished 28th in points 5 with 1 Top and 3 top 10's. At the end of the year, Familyclick ended its backing and Roush closed the #16 team. That season Lepage restarted his #71 Busch (Nationwide) team as Matrix Motorsports with sponsorship from Red Man, Southern Pride Chewing Tobacco, and State Fair Corn Dogs. He finished 42nd in points with 10 starts, 1 Top 5 and 2 Top 10's.

In 2001, Lepage returned to the Busch (Nationwide) Series with his own team running full-time. Kevin’s #71 Matrix Motorsports State Fair Corn Dogs Ford raced 15 races that year with one top five, four top tens, and a pole. He also returned to the Cup series, running the #4 Kodak Chevrolet for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, replacing Robby Gordon after five races. Late in the season, he switched to the #7 Ultra Motorsports Ford, posting a tenth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway.

Early in 2002, Lepage's team was shut down due to a lack of sponsorship, even though he had an 8th at Daytona and a 4th at Las Vegas. He joined Brewco Motorsports, driving their #37 Timber Wolf Chevy. In 24 starts that year, he had six top-tens and two poles, finishing 25th in points. He also ran three Cup races, two in the #38 Quest Motor Racing Ford, and another for BAM Racing at Talladega in a car sponsored by country music star Billy Ray Cyrus.

In 2003, Lepage ran his own team at the Cup level for one race, finishing 32nd at the Coca-Cola 600. He ran two races that year for CLR Racing, where he had a fourth place start at Michigan International Raceway, before returning to Morgan-McClure to finish the year, his best finish a fourteenth at Atlanta.

He teamed with Morgan-McClure again in 2004, but after only six races, Lepage departed due to a lack of sponsorship. He then signed with Competitive Edge Motorsports, posting a best finish of 41st twice, before leaving the team. He ended the season with R&J Racing, where he had a best finish of 27th at Phoenix International Raceway. He also ran eleven races in the Busch (Nationwide) Series for MacDonald Motorsports, where he had two top-fifteen finishes.

In 2005, Lepage returned to R&J, and started the season off with a third-place finish in the Gatorade Duels and a ninth-place finish at the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, the closest Lepage came to another top 10 was a 12th place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the May Coca-Cola 600, and was released from the ride after the Brickyard 400. He signed with Peak Fitness Racing for the portion of the year, and had a sixth-place qualifying effort at Kansas. He finished the season 39th in points. He also ran six races with MacDonald in the Busch (Nationwide) Series as well, posting a ninth-place finish at Lowe's. That year, Lepage made his debut in the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series for Green Light Racing at Dover finishing 19th.

Lepage returned to Peak for 2006, but due to a lack of sponsorship money, the team was sold to Front Row Motorsports in April. Lepage ran a couple of races for FRM before leaving for BAM Racing. He ran 12 races for BAM with a best finish of 21st at Bristol Motor Speedway before leaving them. Lepage then rejoined Front Row Motorsports making two of the final eight races. He ended up 40th in points even with missing 14 races. In the Busch (Nationwide) Series he had a best finish of 19th in the seven races he ran. Lepage ran two races for Green Light Racing in the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series with a best finish of 21st at Michigan. At the end of the year, Lepage sold the remnants of Matrix Motorsports to start a lawn care business called Matrix Lawn and Landscaping.

In 2007, Lepage started his NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup year driving the #34 Front Row Motorsports car in the races where the team could afford to run two cars. Starting in late April, Front Row would mainly run the #37 car with Lepage making most of the attempts. In 27 attempts, Lepage was only able to make two races; Darlington and New Hampshire. He also drove a part-time schedule for a few teams in the Busch (Nationwide) Series. Lepage also had two starts for Team Racing in the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series with a best finish of 35th at Texas.

Lepage returned to driving full time in the Nationwide Series in 2008, driving for Specialty Racing. Lepage was released by Specialty after the July Daytona race and was replaced by Brandon Whitt. Later in the season, he was hired to drive the #73 for Derrike Cope, and finished the season 28th in driver's points, despite missing 8 races. Lepage’s only race in the Truck Series was at the final race of the year at Homestead-Miami speedway for Green Light Racing in which he finished 35th.

He began the 2009 season without a fulltime ride, but after running Derrike Cope's #73 at Bristol, Lepage joined Jimmy Means' team at Texas in April until leaving after the June race at New Hampshire. He then joined Derrike Cope's team for the rest of the season primarily driving the #78, but also occasionally driving the #73. Lepage also ran one race for Green Light Racing at Dover in the Camping World Truck Series finishing 33rd.

One of Lepage’s many fun facts is that he is the only NASCAR driver from Vermont to
qualify for the Daytona 500.