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Cope Runs With Leaders At Daytona

17 February 1998

The 15-year veteran might not have won Sunday's Daytona 500. He didn't even finish the way he and his Bahari' Racing teammates expected to finish. But, what Cope and Bahari take from Sunday's performance in the sport's most prestigious race is the knowledge that the Gumout Pontiac is as good if not better than any other in the 43-car field.

Cope began the race at the top of the grid and immediately demonstrated his ability to race and pass the leaders in the tightly packed draft. Cope ran with eventual race winner Dale Earnhardt frequently passing the 7-time champion and at one point climbing to second place.

Cope stayed in the draft and planned to stay there until the final laps, but a pit lane collision on lap 108 with Jeff Burton damaged the Gumout car's right front tire and fender dropping him several laps behind the leaders and eliminated his chances to duplicate his 1990 Daytona victory.

Cope returned to the track and logged enough laps to post a 37th-place finish.

The Gumout Pontiac returns to action on Friday in Rockingham, North Carolina.