Morgan-McLure Motorsports opened the Daytona Speedweeks NASCAR party with news that it had secured sponsorship from YOKE for the #4 Nextel Cup entry of Kevin Lepage.

The company will offer one of the world's first web-based TV programmes, and plans to start broadcasting on 1 May 2004. It says the channel will feature stars from the world of sports, entertainment and music, and offer an insider's view into the lives of athletes, musicians and celebrities. Viewers will be able to enjoy a large number of new television shows with full 24 hour programming. Broadband internet users will be able to view YOKE TV anywhere on a global basis over their computer links.

Financial terms of the sponsorship were not announced.

"We are extremely excited to get involved with Cup level racing in Nextel's first year and with Morgan-McClure Motorsports for the full season in YOKE TV's initial broadcast year," company president and CEO Brent Meikle said, "It's a new year and I think YOKE TV'S new commitment to NASCAR is a prime example of the type of new sponsorships Nextel will attract to grow this great sport even bigger over the coming years.

"We will have the most interesting broadcast content on the air, not just on the internet, but our goal is to be the most interesting content on the air anywhere versus any medium. And we think we have a programming format that will make that vision a reality the very first day we begin broadcasting on 1 May 2004. This is really the future of broadcast and a whole new experience for people in viewing broadband.

"Today, we are happy to be here in NASCAR and want Kevin and the team to have the glory. Their focus is on a full year of racing. Our time will come soon to share more about both our programming and a major charitable drive we are heading up at the right time. For now, let's go racing!"

Lepage returns as the driver of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which will carry a of red, silver and white paintscheme, beginning from Daytona, where the Morgan-McLure team has three prestigious Daytona 500 victories. Lepage is joined by Tim Brewer, the winningest crew chief on the NASCAR circuit, with 53 Cup victories.

"We are extremely enthusiastic to have YOKE aboard as our primary sponsor," commented team owner and president Larry McClure, "This is a new dawning for Morgan-McClure Motorsports and our sponsor. During the past several months, a lot of hard work has gone into our sponsor deal and the race team. To have this announcement at Daytona means a lot to this team and to me. It has always been one of my favourite tracks. We look forward to a successful partnership with Brent Meikle and YOKE My commitment and dedication to winning remains strong."

The #4 car stayed in the top ten throughout Sunday's practice sessions, before Lepage rolled on to the 2.5-mile track to become the first Nextel Cup driver to qualify under the new series sponsor. The Monte Carlo turned in a time of 47.90secs, and remained in the top five until the 32nd qualifier moved the team into the sixth spot. The #4 car was still the second fastest Chevrolet in qualifying, and starts third in the second 125-mile qualifier on Thursday.

"There are many firsts going on with this team," Lepage said, "We qualified first for the new Nextel season, and we stayed in the top five for most of the day. We went out early and had to battle high winds. I think, when we qualified, the wind was about 30mph and diminished to about 12mph when a few others were on the track. To end up sixth out of 45 cars is something to be proud of for Daytona.

"My hats off to Larry and Brewer and the entire Morgan-McClure team. These guys have worked their guts out. This is just a great effort. We wanted a top ten when we went into qualifying. We thought when we left the track on Saturday that we would be really good for qualifying. Then we arrived at the track on Sunday and Old Glory was blowing right into our faces, which was opposite of where it was during practice.

"Daytona is a great track. I love playing the chess game here. It is a challenge to determine who is going to help you and who will not. We are hoping some people will want to follow this #4 Chevy on Thursday and Sunday.

"I am personally happy with our results," team boss McLure added, "Everyone on the team is enthusiastic. There are many smiles around the garage today. I think we can race even better than we qualified. Kevin realises he has the talent. I think he's hungry. He needs to have success and I need to have success.

"Watching Kevin go out first to qualify was nerve-racking," admitted YOKE TV CEO Brent Meikle, "We were holding our breath while watching the other cars qualify. About halfway through, I knew the team would remain solid in the top ten. Today speaks volumes about how much work has been put into the team. I am
proud of Larry, Kevin and all of the members of the #4 YOKE team."