COPE QUALIFIES ...
COPE QUALIFIES #15 FENLEY-MOORE FORD 23RD ON OPENING NIGHT AT CHARLOTTE
CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 6) -- Derrike Cope qualified the #15 Fenley-Moore Motorsports Ford Taurus 23rd on the starting grid for Sunday's UAW-GM Quality 500 during Bud Pole Qualifying tonight at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Cope recorded a qualifying lap of 29.597 seconds, an average of 182.451 mph over the 1.5-mile Lowe's tri-oval. Sunday's 1 p.m. EDT race start will be the first for the newly revitalized Fenley-Moore Motorsports operation of Spartanburg, S.C., which features legendary car builder Bud Moore and new owners Randy and Robert Fenley, and Robert's wife Sue.
DERRIKE COPE -- I feel good. To get qualifying over with tonight and have this kind of modest success, I feel really good, and I know the rest of the guys do, too. We do realize that we have a long way to go. I'm a realist, and, believe me, this is really tough racing out here with the best of the best. We locked up a Top 25 spot in our very first time out and that's a really big step for us. We had some problems in practice today -- a miss in the motor, an ignition box problem, a spark plug problem. I never got a chance to do a simulated qualifying lap. So, to go out there cold turkey tonight and do this kind of a lap, that's just great. Now that we're in the show, it's important for us to work on a lot of things beginning tomorrow morning with shocks and chassis setup and try and get a feel for what we're going to need for long runs on race day. If you think about it, these guys haven't been together for more than a short period of time. Nobody panicked today. Everyone stayed calm, went about their business, and made good conscious decisions. We're off to a good start from the standpoint of making the most of a tough situation.
RANDY FENLEY (Co-Owner) -- I'm extremely happy. It's a big deal to make it in first-round qualifying. This is a very important race for us. It helps us to build our credibility. We've needed to let people know that we're a credible team, and that's what we did tonight. We really didn't have a lot of time to put this team together. Only a few months. And look how well everyone has worked together.
ROBERT FENLEY (Co-Owner) -- To have a Top 25 in first-day qualifying is an awesome feeling. It's been tense for three months. But we have good equipment and good people, and I'm excited about the future of this team.
JOEY KNUCKLES (Crew Chief) -- I'm extremely proud of my guys and the car owners for allowing me to do what I needed to do. It means so much for us. Our testing and preparation has come together a lot quicker than I thought it would. At this point, if I had to give us a rating, I'd give us an A. Having qualified on the first day really takes the pressure off and now we can get down to the business of preparing for our first race together.