by Jana Jurkovich
WAUSAU(WAOW)-Jeremy Lepak spent a lot of time at the race track when he was younger.
Says Lepak, "I grew up at the racetrack."
That's because racing has been in Lepak's family for generations and is a big reason he climbed behind the wheel.
Lepakl says, "My uncles raced, my dad was one of the originals, my grandpa raced ice drags, so it's been in our family for years. My dad did it and I just felt it was something that was my turn to take over."
Now he's one of the best late model racecar drivers in the area. Last Tuesday he picked up his second straight runner-up finish at the Slinger Nationals.
Lepak says, "I'm really proud of that and just real excited. There isn't anybody in Wisconsin that doesn't know about the Slinger Nationals."
Lepak actually led the race at the halfway point and in the second half went toe to toe with NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Matt Kenseth for the lead.
Says Lepak, "Me and him leaned on each other and you just couldn't ask for better racing. I went up against a Winston Cup Champion and just real proud of that the rest of my racing career that I got the opportunity to do that."
But Lepak is quick to thanks those who helped him get these types of opportunities, mainly Jerry Gunderman who owns this #40 car.
Says Lepak, "It's hard to come out of Wausau and get opportunities down in the Southern part of the state like this and Jerry's one of the biggest and one of the best."
And Lepak joins an elite group of drivers to sit inn a seat in one of Gunderman's cars.
Lepak says, "Matt drove for him, Mark Martin, a lot of big guys so I'm real proud to have this ride."
Online Reporter: Jana Jurkovich