NASCAR: Richert Looks Forward to Racing With Lepage at Martinsville
10 April 1998MOORESEVILLE, NC - The "little team that could" continues its journey in the Goody's Headache Powders 500 at Martinsville Speedway next weekend. The LJ Racing Team, with Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate, Kevin Lepage, behind the wheel, marches into the .526 mile speedway with a sense of accomplishment from the first part of the 1998 Winston Cup racing season. Despite not having a sponsor on the side of the car, the team has made every race except Rockingham and created quite a story inside the garage with their "never say die" attitude.
Leading the team of warriors is crew chief Doug Richert, one of the most well rounded crew chiefs in the garage. Richert's Winston Cup experience dates back to 1976 when he started out as a teenager for Rod Osterlund's team. Richert can almost always be found with a smile on his face. That smile is still coming through strong this season when he sits back to reflect on the accomplishments and dedication of his present team.
"These guys have a wonderful attitude, they never give up and they have a high desire to be successful despite the odds we face. Last week in Texas when the car was ripped to pieces in the lap 2 accident they wanted to do all they could to get the car back out and gain more points. That attitude allowed us to return and pick up another rookie of the race award for Kevin and gain some more points for the team."
Richert is counting on that same dedication to lead the team to success in Martinsville, a track where Richert led Dale Earnhardt to victory in 1979.
"We tested for two days a few weeks ago in Matinsville and came away with some solid information. Right now we are applying all that to the car in the shop. If we can unload the car and be fast from the beginning of practice it will put us one step ahead. Qualifying can be so tough there, we are not going to be able to afford a mistake during our laps."
Once in the race, Richert is counting on his brake system performing all day and the smoothness of his driver, Lepage, to carry the car home all in one piece. Martinsville can be one of the most demanding tracks on the circuit and keeping a driver cool can be half the battle.
"We have spent a lot of time this week on the braking system. It is probably the most expensive and most valuable part on the car for this race. I know Kevin will continue to do a good job for us and with a little luck we can bring home a solid finish."
Keep an eye on the LJ Racing Chevrolet in The Goody's Headache Powders 500, behind the scenes will be a team full of heart and dedication, led by a veteran crew chief with a smile on his face and hopefully a car still on all four wheels after the race.