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NASCAR: Lepage and Falk Looking to Build Success Together

19 March 1998

MOORESVILLE, NC - With the Winston Cup season only four races old, some teams are already shaking their heads wondering where to look for success. Not so, for The L J Racing Team owned by Joe Falk. Along with Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate, Kevin Lepage and crew chief Doug Richert, the team has achieved much more success than anyone ever predicted.

Still without a major sponsor, the team has persevered with less than 10 full- time crew members. They have survived on hard work, dedication, and a little bit of racing luck. The L J Racing Chevrolet has already made the Daytona 500 (qualified 20th), won the rookie of the race award in Las Vegas and finished 14th in Atlanta. Lepage has also created quite a stir in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race. After being written off by most in the beginning, Lepage is now tied for second in the race and along with Kenny Irwin, they are the only two rookies to have won rookie of the race awards to date.

The fact remains though, a major sponsor is needed to keep the L J Racing Chevrolet and Lepage on track towards their goals. Talks continue on a daily basis with sponsors and with each race, the interest level has moved forward.

The success of the unsponsored team has many people talking inside the NASCAR garage.

"Everyone is trying to figure out what we've got that they don't," said Falk. "We might not have a sponsor, but we've got talent, chemistry and dedication. We are beating the odds, making races when teams with big sponsors and large crews are going home."

With his smooth driving style and never-say-die attitude, Lepage has raised his stock tremendously since the start of the season. His name has been mentioned in numerous published reports about other driving opportunities, but Falk doesn't plan on letting this rising star slip away.

"Kevin and I have a handshake agreement to run this season," Falk said. "We are going to do this and we are going to be a success. We are planning on being together for a long time."

Lepage, Falk and The L J Racing team will head to Darlington, SC this weekend with an eye on their first top-ten finish. The TranSouth Financial 400 takes the green flag on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully the talk will continue about the team and a sponsor will come forward to join the success.