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Lepage Gains Valuable Winston Cup Experience in Darlington

24 March 1998

DARLINGTON, SC-- They call the 1.33 mile speedway located in Darlington, SC one of the toughest race tracks on the circuit. It is known for eating race cars and ruining dreams and hopes. Any rookie running the whole race and keeping his car in one piece can take some sense of satisfaction from his run. L J Racing driver, Kevin Lepage, accomplished just that, he kept his race car clean all day and gained valuable Winston Cup experience. Lepage ran the whole race and finished in the 34th position.

The weekend started off on a real high note as Lepage qualified in the 10th position, a personal and team best starting spot. Throughout the first 25 laps, Lepage raced hard and kept his Chevrolet Monte Carlo inside the top-15 positions. Soon after, the tires began to loose grip and Lepage had to fight to hang onto each spot. A spin while trying to enter pit road on lap 78, set Lepage back a lap, but he was determined to continue racing hard.

As the race wore on, the engine suffered a slight loss of power, but kept on running. Lepage kept his cool and continued to gain experience on The track they call "Too Tough too Tame." In the end, Lepage found himself in 34th place, second highest among rookie contenders.

"We gained a lot of experience today that will be valuable when we return here in the fall," Lepage said. "We left our mark on the weekend with the great qualifying run, a higher finish would have been nice, but our race team continued to learn and I continued to grow as a driver."

Lepage and The L J Racing Team will now head to Bristol, TN for Sunday's Food City 500 on ESPN at 12:30 EST. The race will be the first short track race of the season and Lepage