Mike Cope fastest on second day at DIS By Brett Borden
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 15, 1999) It was a Dodge day at Daytona International Speedway Wednesday, as the Rams of Mike Cope, Dennis Setzer and Randy Renfrow topped the time sheets on the second day of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing in preparation for the Feb. 18 season opener on the 2.5-mile speedway.
Cope turned a lap in 48.179 seconds for a speed of 186.803 mph in the No. 86 Royal Crown Cola Dodge. Most of the top laps on Wednesday, including Cope's, were clocked in various drafting formations in which two or more trucks running together are faster than a truck running solo.
Afterward, Cope said he felt fortunate to be where he is -- in a ride that won six Bud Poles in the series in 1999.
"It's a pretty neat deal," he said. "You know, there are two Dodges that are pretty quick, Setzer's and ours, and when we come back we should be a little bit better. I'm just happy for the opportunity. It's overwhelming and I'm just glad to be here."
Setzer was just .021-second off the pace in his No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge. Renfrow was .633-second off the top pace in third in the Farris Concrete Ram.
The top driver not in a Dodge was Rick Crawford, who was fastest in Tuesday's session. Crawford was fourth fastest Wednesday in the No. 14 Milwaukee Power Tool Ford.
"Yesterday we worked on speed a little bit and today we did some evaluations on air speed, turbulence under the hood, air through the radiator and a little bit of chassis, but basically we worked on a lot of air stuff around the engine," Crawford said. "We got in a draft out there a while ago with Jack (Sprague) and turned a pretty good lap."
"I'm looking forward to coming back here in January with two trucks and especially for Daytona so we'll have something to base our baseline with."
NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team owner Bobby Hamilton was sixth-fastest in his backup Dodge, followed by Lyndon Amick driving Ken Schrader's No. 52 Chevrolet, Bryan Reffner piloting John Menard's No. 3 Chevy, Terry Cook and Marty Houston.
"We've still got some fine tuning to do," said Dennis Huth, vice president of touring operations and international development for NASCAR. "This test session gave us tons of information and we feel sure we'll be able to get these trucks configured so that racing will be competitive and exciting for the fans."
1. Mike Cope, Dodge, 48.179 seconds/186.803 mph 2. Dennis Setzer, Dodge, 48.198/186.730 3. Randy Renfrow, Dodge, 48.343/186.170 4. Rick Crawford, Ford, 48.425/185.736 5. Jack Sprague , Chevrolet, 48.456/185.736 6. Bobby Hamilton, Dodge, 48.536/185.429 7. Lyndon Amick, Chevrolet, 48.551/185.372 8. Bryan Reffner, Chevrolet, 48.563/185.326 9. Terry Cook, Chevrolet, 48.604/185.170 10. Marty Houston, Chevrolet, 48.610/185.147