Kevin Lepage (born June 26, 1962) is a NASCAR driver from Shelburne, Vermont. This year he has driven for Specialty Racing, Front Row Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing and Derrike Cope Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Lepage is the only NASCAR driver from Vermont to qualify for the Daytona 500.Template:O RLY?
Lepage, one of the few NASCAR drivers from New England, spent the 1980s driving in both the Busch North series and the Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour series. He drove with occasional success in these series for the better part of 14 years.
Early Busch Series CareerEdit
Lepage made his Busch Series debut in 1986 at Oxford Plains Speedway, starting 41st and finishing 15th in the #09 Buick. He became a Busch Series regular in 1994, serving as an owner/driver in the #71 Vermont Teddy Bear Company car. He had a best finish of 9th at New Hampshire International Speedway, and finished 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 and ran his own car unsponsored until April. Lepage then joined David Ridling and his #88 Ridling Motorports 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. 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 its 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 Cup debut by qualifying for the Fall Charlotte race in the #91 LJ Racing car in an impressive 12th. He would also run the Fall Talladega and Atlanta races with a best finish of 17th at Talladega.
Winston Cup 1998-2002Edit
Lepage made the move to Winston Cup Series in 1998, driving for the now-defunct LJ Racing team. Despite the team's lack of sponsorship, Lepage posted two fourteenth-place finishes, catching the eye of Jack Roush of Roush Racing. 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 Charlotte. Despite missing several races, he nearly won the Rookie of the Year title. Lepage also drove in the Busch series for Doug Taylor's #40 team with sponsorship from Channellock. Lepage finished 14th in points despite only starting 24 races out of 31. Lepage won his second career 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 which switched to TV Guide in April after Primestar was sold to General Motors owned DirectTV. He had two top-tens and won the pole at the season-ending NAPA 500, earning him a 25th-place points finish. Lepage also ran in the Busch Series driving the #99 J&J Racing/Brewco Motorsports car with sponsorship from Red Man Chewing Tobacco. 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. Surprisingly, he failed to qualify twice and ended up 28th in points with 1 Top 5 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 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 Series to run his own team, Matrix Motorsports, driving the #71 State Fair Corn Dogs Ford. Running 15 races, he had one top-five, four top-tens and a pole at Kansas Speedway. 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.
Recent years 2002-presentEdit
Early in 2002, Lepage's team went inactive due to a lack of sponsorship, even though he had an 8th at Daytona and a 4th at Las Vegas. He soon 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 Billy Ray Cyrus. His best finish that year was a 40th at Loudon.
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, 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 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 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 Coca-Cola 600, and was released from the ride after the Brickyard 400. He signed with Peak Fitness Racing for the balance of the year, and had a sixth-place qualifying effort at Kansas. He also ran six races with MacDonald in the Busch Series as well, posting a ninth-place finish at Lowe's.
Lepage returned to Peak for 2006, but due to a lack of funding, 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 in their #34 and #61 cars. He also ran a limited schedule in the Busch Series for Mac Hill Motorsports with a best finish of 19th in seven races. 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 the 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. He also drove a part-time schedule for a few teams in the Busch Series including the #52 Means Racing Ford, as well as some additional races for Randy MacDonald and D.D.L. Motorsports, as well as a couple of starts for Team Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. Lepage returned to driving full time in the Nationwide Series (formally known as the Busch Series) in 2008, driving for Specialty Racing. Lepage was released by Specialty after the July Daytona race and was replaced by Brandon Whitt. The following race at Chicagoland he failed to qualify a car brought by Front Row Motorsports. After he failed to qualify Lepage drove the #52 Means Racing entry for Brad Teague in order to maintain his position in the driver's points. Later in the season, he was hired to drive the #73 for Derrike Cope.