(July 6, 1999) -- Much like the determined heavyweight boxer on the ropes, Jimmy Dean Pontiac driver Derrike Cope will continue to fight the fight as he heads to New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday's Jiffy Lube 300. It's been a...
(July 6, 1999) -- Much like the determined heavyweight boxer on the ropes, Jimmy Dean Pontiac driver Derrike Cope will continue to fight the fight as he heads to New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday's Jiffy Lube 300.
It's been a tough season for the Bahari' Racing team, but if Cope needs any inspiration to get behind the wheel of his Grand Prix this weekend, he need only look at the hard-working efforts of his crew.
"Quite honestly, it's the guys on the Jimmy Dean team that keep me going," Cope said. "I know these guys are down right now, but that doesn't stop them from working as hard as ever. There would be no better feeling in the world than to reward them with a good qualifying run and competitive race at New Hampshire. We all have that feeling of desperation right now. A cornered fighter often has that look and what's he do? He comes out swinging. That's the only way you can battle through tough times."
Cope has had success at the "Magic Mile." Driving for Bobby Allison in the 1995 Slick 50 300, Cope ran with the leaders much of the race and was a contender for victory before finishing seventh. That was one of his career-best six top-10 runs that season.
"That team fought through tough circumstances as well," Cope said. "Unlike this season with a sponsor like Jimmy Dean, back then we struggled financially. We didn't have all the resources to run up front week after week. But our crew didn't use that as an excuse, they were determined to get the job done, and oftentimes, we did."
The inspiration behind those underdog performances was Allison. He continues to serve as a source of motivation to Cope to this day.
"Bobby was a great coach on the radio," Cope said. "You didn't want to let him down."
Jimmy Dean is one of four Sara Lee companies serving as rotating sponsors on owner Chuck Rider's Pontiacs this season. The others are Bryan, State Fair and Rudy's Farm.