Lepage throws in the rake for a snow shovel and prepares to win jackpot in Vegas.


Although the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series enjoys a rare off-weekend only two weeks after the first points race of 2004, the driver of the No. 4 YOKETV.com Monte Carlo will be hard at work.  Kevin Lepage, who would normally be driving at speeds in excess of 150 mph throughout the weekend, will be living life at a much slower pace on Saturday and Sunday.

Lepage, who resides in Mooresville, N.C., with his wife Donna and dog Amber, planned on doing a little yard work Saturday. However, with snow falling and covering the ground in the Charlotte area on Thursday, February 26, the avid gardener might have to rethink his weekend plans.  As a native of Shelburne, Vt., Lepage is accustomed to the snow. While growing up in Vermont, Lepage often shoveled snow for money. He prefers preparing his yard with a rake for spring instead of clearing snow with a shovel from his driveway this weekend.

Either way, the 41-year-old driver will begin concentrating on a trip to Las Vegas next week for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Since its inception in 1998, the 1.5-mile track has allowed Lepage a respectable record. He has competed in three Nextel Cup races at Las Vegas with his best start of 14th and best finish of 11th on March 5, 2000.

Morgan-McClure Motorsports tested at Las Vegas several weeks ago in preparation for the upcoming 267-laps event. With crew chief Tim Brewer¿s skills, the team¿s dedication to improving its record at the track and Lepage¿s fondness for Las Vegas, a winning finish for the Abingdon, Va.-based team appears to be in the cards.

"Plans were to work in the yard this weekend if the weather cooperated," Lepage said.  "I enjoy yard work and was looking forward to preparing the yard for spring. Now, plans might change. We might be shoveling snow instead of raking.  "I will take my wife out for a good meal and spend quality time with her. Beyond that, we will wait and see.

"Las Vegas is a good track to me. I have raced in the Busch and Cup Series there since its inception. Tracks like Vegas, Atlanta, and Charlotte fit my driving style.

"The team had a good test there a few weeks ago with the No. 4 YOKETV.com Chevrolet. Brewer and I combined ideas and prepared a base set of notes to utilize when we return next week. I think my driving abilities at Vegas and the car they are preparing for me to drive will offer some excitement for the No. 4 fans. I would love to hit the jackpot at Vegas and I am not exactly talking about by pulling a handle. A win Vegas style would be spectacular.

"I am optimistic about our team progressing every week. We continue to add blocks to build on. Larry¿s dedication and Brewer¿s knowledge combine for a positive return in the near future with this race team. We are approaching tracks on the schedule that should be very good for this team and me. They should escalate the performance of the team to the level it deserves."