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NASCAR-BGN: Mike Cope/Slim Jim Team Looking Strong for New Hampshire

6 May 1998

Mike Cope and his Slim Jim #30 racing team have a lot going for them this weekend at New Hampshire.

To start with he will be driving the car that his teammate Mike McLaughlin used to win last year's NASCAR Busch Series race. Along with the car, he will have access to McLaughlin's New Hampshire set up. That's a big deal since McLaughlin is not just the defending race champion, but is the New Hampshire International Speedway's leading race winner with six victories, plus he holds the track Busch Series qualifying record.

Cope has two previous starts at New Hampshire, his Busch Series debut in 1996 and a Craftsman Truck Series race last year. In those two races he completed 396 of 400 possible laps. This will be the first time this year he will be competing on a track where he has radial tire experience.

New Hampshire will be Cope's third race with his new crew chief, Donnie Richeson. Richeson brings a wealth of New Hampshire Winston Cup experience to Cope and the Slim Jim team.

"I've got a great car, some good experience and strong leadership all going for me at New Hampshire," said Cope. "For the first time this year I've got all these things coming together at the same time and place."

"Another thing is that New Hampshire is a flat track like many of the tracks that I have been racing on since I started. I like those kinds of tracks because they require a lot of finesse and feel from the driver, you can't just hold it wide open."

"I know I'm still a Busch Series rookie, but at New Hampshire I'll feel less like a rookie than I've felt all year."