LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Northeast NASCAR fans will be especially happy to know that two native sons will join the action Jan. 5-7 when the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge hits the ice at the Verizon Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Kevin Lepage of Shelburne, Vt. and Randy LaJoie of Norwalk, Conn. have both committed to participating in the competition among 10 drivers that will raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. This research and development initiative, started in 1992 by Bodine, is striving to raise needed funds to keep the United States Men’s and Women’s Bobsled Teams at the forefront of international racing. And that includes the Winter Olympics.
Lepage won over $1 million in 12 Cup starts in 2005. His top results were ninth in Daytona and 12th in Charlotte coming from start 43.
LaJoie, two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion, was sixth at Talladega, seventh in Milwaukee and eighth in Las Vegas.
Lepage is hoping that many of his Vermont fans will make the journey to Lake Placid. He was in his home state recently for the holidays and made several local appearances.
“It will be a great experience in the sense that I have never been to Lake Placid,” said Lepage. “But growing up in Vermont, I was always intrigued by the sport of bobsledding. Most importantly though, I’m looking forward to supporting Geoff and his design project for the U.S. team.”
In 1997, LaJoie rode in a bobsled with 2002 Salt Lake City bronze medalist Brian Shimer. He recently recalled that ride in Utah with the five-time Olympian.
“I wanted to get out halfway down,” admitted LaJoie. “It was a different speed than I had ever experienced. I’m really looking forward to driving the sleds and support Geoff and the whole American team. What Geoff has done is great.”
One needs to look no further than the current World Cup results in the men’s and women’s divisions. Approximately one-third of the medals awarded to date have gone to Uncle Sam’s racers in the Bo-Dyn craft. These sleek, aerodynamic sleds are born at Chassis Dynamics in Connecticut under the watchful eye of Bob Cuneo.
After a day of training on Jan. 6, the green light will be flashed on Jan. 7 as Lepage and LaJoie will go up against Geoff and Todd Bodine as well as Johnny Sauter, Boris Said, Steve Park, Dick Trickle, Joel Kauffmann and Stanton Barrett.
Other drivers, such as Cup winner Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., are hopeful their schedules will enable them to attend.
The pilots will race twice on Jan. 7 – at 10 am and 2 pm – after qualification on the afternoon of Jan. 6.
ESPN will televise a one-hour program on Jan. 29 at 5 pm (Eastern), while Speed Channel will provide two hours of coverage on Feb. 4 at 2 pm (Eastern).
In addition to the on-ice action, the festivities will include a $100 a plate fundraiser at Nicola’s on Main in Lake Placid. Call 518-523-5853. There will be a silent auction featuring NASCAR memorabilia and Bodine bobsled event-related merchandise.
While Chevrolet is the title sponsor, Whelen Engineering is the presenting sponsor and Columbia Sportswear is the Official Clothing Supplier for the Lake Placid event.
For more information on this event including ticket purchases, please log on to www.bodinebobsled.com.