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Lepage apologizes for starting 15-car accident

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Kevin Lepage apologized Sunday for starting a 15-car accident in the Nationwide Series that he initially insisted wasn't his fault.

Lepage started the crash at Talladega Superspeedway when he was coming out of the pits with 47 laps to go Saturday. He tried to blend back onto the track as the pack of traffic raced toward turn 1, effectively entering the racing line at half the speed the rest of the cars were traveling.

Carl Edwards practically ran over Lepage's car to trigger the massive wreck. Lepage insisted it wasn't his fault, but took responsibility after reviewing the footage and called it the biggest mistake he's made in his 25 years of racing.

"After reviewing the tapes of the accident I realize I need to apologize to NASCAR, the car owners, my fellow competitors and, most importantly, the fans," he said in a statement released by his team, Specialty Racing. "I made a huge driver error by blending onto the race track in the wrong area. This caused a multicar accident and changed the outcome of the race for many teams.

"I'm so thankful that no one was hurt considering the number of cars involved."

Lepage vowed not to make the same mistake again, and said not accepting blame initially made him look like a "heel."

"There is not a single person to blame for this huge mistake except myself," he said. "I have worked very hard over the years to gain the respect of NASCAR, the owners, competitors and the fans, and it will take a long time to gain it back after what happened."

Lepage said if he could do it over, he would have let the leaders by before blending on to the track.