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NASCAR-BGN: Atlanta Race Report - Xpress Motorsports

9 November 1998

No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac

Derrike Cope, driver of the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac, finished 36th in Saturday's STIHL 300 NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division race at the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was Copes first ride in the Xpress Motorsports machine.

"We struggled with the handling a little early in the race," said Cope. "We had the car pretty strong and then I started to feel a vibration. We changed tires thinking that might be the problem, but it was something more than that. It got pretty bad, so we made the decision to park the car as opposed to doing serious damage or risking an accident."

Cope completed 113 of the 195 laps.

"This is a new team," he continued. "I'm very happy with the weekend we had and feel like next season we will be very competitive in the Busch Series. I'm excited about next year in this car."

The team has a limited Busch Series, Grand National Division schedule (15 to 20 races) planned for next season. The Atlanta race as much as anything else was a head start on next year's program. Team manager and crew chief Dave Fuge echoed the positive sentiments.

"I think the Atlanta experience was a success," he commented. "We got to test two days a couple of weeks ago and that really helped us get acquainted with the cars. Then to actually qualify on the first day and get a chance to do the whole weekend was very valuable for us as we continue to work towards next season."

Mark Martin won Saturday's race. He was followed across the line by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Buckshot Jones. The Xpress Motorsports/Derrike Cope combination will next hit the track in Daytona as part of Speedweeks activities in February.