LAKELAND, Florida - Jimmy Cope stayed in charge of race restarts winning the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series SunCruz 200 Saturday night at USA International Speedway, capturing the Florida Late Model championship and race one of the Triple...
LAKELAND, Florida - Jimmy Cope stayed in charge of race restarts winning the FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series SunCruz 200 Saturday night at USA International Speedway, capturing the Florida Late Model championship and race one of the Triple Crown.
A smiling Cope of Pinellas Park, FL in the Myakka Chevrolet wore a solid gold ring with a bright centered diamond in Victory Lane given by presenting sponsor Midas Jewelers and he also pocketed $5,000 for his victory.
"It was tough - I'm not a young guy anymore, but we could hang in there," said a tired Cope.
Power was the key to victory and Cope had it, but still had to hold off Sunbelt point leader Dick Anderson of Wildwood, FL several times in the Jimmy Harris owned 00 Chevrolet. Anderson finished second after losing his power steering pump with 30 remaining laps.
"The power steering was really bad and I was having to fight it hard," said Anderson.
Anderson also suffered from heat exhaustion and sat on the speedway in Victory Lane at race end while medical attention was quickly administered.
Cope led 24 Super Late Model cars to green flag racing after setting a fast time of 20.787 seconds during a first qualifying lap effort for a speed of 129.89 mph on the three-quarter mile USA track.
Cope was the early leader and by lap 50 he was followed by Anderson and Justin Drawdy of Ft. Pierce. FL. Michael Williams of Mims, FL was fourth and James Powell of Astor, FL was fifth.
During lap 69, Anderson passed Cope for the lead in turn two.
A third place race finishing and TM Ranch Dodge driving David Rogers of Orlando, FL was moving quickly and took over fourth.
"The car wasn't really all that great, but we didn't lose a lot," said Rogers.
During lap 90 all top drivers made a major pit stop for tires and fuel and Drawdy's pit crew had him back out first.<< Anderson had some problems on pit road and was the last of the top five out of the pits.
Bruce Lawrence II of Sorento, FL and Daniel Keene Jr. of Tampa, FL were involved in a major wreck out of turn two in lap 111 and the field came under a red flag for 28 minutes. Both drivers were not injured.
In lap 117, it was Drawdy, Cope, Anderson and Williams.
During lap 119, Cope took the point moving to the inside of Drawdy and two laps later Anderson moved to second also taking that position from Drawdy.
Cope took some heavy pressure from Anderson for the lead in lap 150 as the quick duo opened a 10-car lead over a third place running Drawdy. Rogers scampered by Drawdy for third in lap 169. The running order was now Cope, Anderson, Rogers, Drawdy and Williams.
Anderson fell off the pace by five car lengths in lap 176 and appeared struggling to control his car and bring it up to speed.
Rogers had a great restart and went by Anderson for second in lap 195 for a single circuit, but Anderson took control of second once again.
Crossing the stripe was Cope, Anderson and Rogers.
Rounding out the top five were Williams and Drawdy.
The next FASCAR Sunbelt Super Late Model Series race will be at Citrus County Speedway on Aug. 3 and is also race two of the Triple Crown.