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NASCAR Winston Cup CMT 300 Preview: #36, Derrike Cope

10 September 1997

 #36 Derrike Cope, Skittles Pontiac Grand Prix
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 CMT 300 Advance
 New Hampshire International Speedway
                   DERRIKE COPE NOTES & QUOTES: CMT 300
LOUDON, NH - The Winston Cup NASCAR Series heads back to New Hampshire for a 
second race this season and Derrike Cope, driver of the #36 Skittles 
Pontiac, looks to continue his recent success on the track during the 
Country Music Television 300 this weekend at New Hampshire International 

After a slow mid-season, Cope and the Skittles Race Team has stepped it up 
a notch. In the past four races, the team has an average qualifying effort 
of 17th, with their best effort of the season coming three races ago at 
Bristol when Cope started ninth. 

Finishes also have improved for the Skittles team, posting three top-20 
finishes in the past four races. Cope ranks second among the new teams for 
his average finishes of the season and second in the last five races. Joe 
Nemechek in the #42 car, who has been nicknamed "Front Row Joe," leads the 
new-team pack for the the last five races. 

During his most recent visit to New Hampshire, Cope worked hard around the 
one-mile track and advanced steadily from his 31st starting position. Early 
in the 300-lap race, Cope fell victim to an accident but held on strong for 
a 20th-place finish, one lap behind the leaders. 

"Our finish last time at New Hampshire was not indicative of how strong the 
Skittles car actually was," said Cope, whose best finish at NHIS was during 
the 1995 Slick 50 300 when he finished seventh. "After repairs were made, 
the car handled well and I was able to gain some positions and raced to a 
fairly decent finish.

"Knowing how well the Skittles car was set up last time at New Hampshire, I 
expect an even stronger finish this time," commented Cope, who just recorded 
his 300th Winston Cup career start last weekend at Richmond. "I look forward 
to getting in the car and running it as hard as I can.

"We had a good run at Richmond last weekend," said Cope, who climbed one 
spot to 28th in the Winston Cup points standings. "The car was a little 
tight but I held on and finished 16th. I wish we could have done a little 
better since it was my 300th start."

Cope's Record at New Hampshire International Speedway

Best Finish: 7th; 1995 Slick 50 300 
Top-5 Finishes: 0
Top-10 Finishes: 1
Best Start: 8th; 1994 Slick 50 300
Biggest Payday at NHIS: $26,600; 1996 Jiffy Lube 300

 YEAR   EVENT                    Start  Finish   Earnings     Reason
 1997   Jiffy Lube 300             31     20      26,600      Running
 1996   Jiffy Lube 300             25     38      19,125      Engine
 1995   Slick 50 300               23      7      26,125      Running
 1994   Slick 50 300                8     35      12,000      Accident
 1993   Slick 50 300               38     22      16,050      Running

By Muhleman Marketing