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NASCAR WCUP: Shepherd Ignites New Flame

5 August 1998

Mooresville, NC - Morgan Shepherd has ignited a new flame in the hearts of the LJ Racing team. It started with a strong weekend at Pocono last week, and continued as the team competed in their second Brickyard event.

"I really enjoy working with you, your attitude is the finest," opined spotter and engine builder Dennis Fisher following the last lap of the Brickyard 400 on Saturday, echoing the sentiments of everyone on the team.

Shepherd and the rest of the unsponsored 91 Chevrolet Monte Carlo crew brought their car home to one of the teams best finishes of the year, placing 15th when the checkered flag flew.

Car owner Joe Falk was similarly pleased with the results of his teams work. "We did the best we could on Thursday during qualifying, but everyone was set back by the weather, so we were all in the same boat." Friday, the team nearly wore out their worry beads as the decision was made to stand on the first qualifying attempt. "Morgan posted the fastest lap of the session in the morning practice, but we were still a tenth off the first run, and no one else was close to that first time. The track slowed down so much as it got hotter, that we felt that was the best decision we could make. All we could do was sit and wait."

Saturday was just as successful for the team. "The pit stops were smooth and consistant," said Crew Chief Doug Richert. "We dont have a lot of time to practice, so we have to perform on race day. These guys came through and it showed. We didn't make any mistakes, which is the most we hope for in our pit stops. The speed will come, but the mistakes are most costly."

The team was jubilant as they loaded up for the return to the shop. It was there in their faces and the spring in their step. Early this week, they will put the finishing touches on the car and make the trip to Watkins Glen, NY where they look forward to building the flame to a bonfire.