COPE HOPES TO FINESSE THE FIELD AT RICHMOND (May 10, 1999) -- Contrary to the bump and grind short tracks at Bristol and Martinsville, Jimmy Dean Pontiac driver Derrike Cope believes the wide, .75-mile short track at Richmond International ...
COPE HOPES TO FINESSE THE FIELD AT RICHMOND
(May 10, 1999) -- Contrary to the bump and grind short tracks at Bristol and Martinsville, Jimmy Dean Pontiac driver Derrike Cope believes the wide, .75-mile short track at Richmond International Raceway will allow him to showcase his driving skills in Saturday's Pontiac Excitement 400.
"I like Richmond," Cope said. "We have historically run well there. We have had some good qualifying efforts. Richmond allows more finesse because it is a wider track than most small tracks. At this race track, you can find a secondary lane. It is easier to find your way around someone without having to shove their car aside."
Cope and his teammates hope that last week's break in the Winston Cup schedule will give them enough time to prepare for the Pontiac Excitement 400. The team is testing at Memphis Motorsports Park on Tuesday to dial in its Richmond short track car. Last week, Cope spent two days testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway in preparation for the Winston Open and May 30 Coca-Cola 600.
Success at Richmond boils down to the car adapting to the several different racing grooves available to the drivers. An adaptable car gives a driver more avenues to pass.
"Richmond is one of those race tracks where the car has got to run well," Cope said. "It has to get direction. It has to have good balance in order to get the car in the corner because you have to arc the car into turn one. That car has got to turn when it gets into the middle. The same goes for three and four. Of course, they are tighter turns, so the car really has to rotate. It is a place you can overdrive easily, so the car has got to work."
The Pontiac Excitement 400 is the biggest sporting event in Virginia with an attendance easily surpassing 100,000.
Jimmy Dean is one of four Sara Lee companies rotating as sponsors on owner Chuck Rider's Bahari' Racing Pontiac this season. The others are Bryan, State Fair, and Rudy's Farm.