DENNIS COOPER OF LAFAYETTE, COLO., NAMED 18TH NAPA AUTO PARTS HONORARY CREW MEMBER OF 2010 NHRA SEASON MORRISON, Colo. (July 25, 2010) - Dennis Cooper, of Lafayette, Colo., was selected as the 18th NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member of the ...
DENNIS COOPER OF LAFAYETTE, COLO., NAMED 18TH NAPA AUTO PARTS HONORARY CREW MEMBER OF 2010 NHRA SEASON
MORRISON, Colo. (July 25, 2010) - Dennis Cooper, of Lafayette, Colo., was selected as the 18th NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series at this weekend's Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, just outside of Denver.
Cooper, 50, is the owner of Cooper's Automotive in Lafayette, an eight-bay automotive repair facility which is also a NAPA AutoCare Center. The shop is in its 27th year of business and has been a NAPA AutoCare Center for the last 12 years.
He and his 25-year-old daughter Stephanie Burch, who lives in Dacono, Colo., have been coming to the Mile-High Nationals for 15 years, having missed only one event in that time. "We've been coming here since she was 11 years old," he said. "She got married in June two years ago and we still made it to the Mile-High Nationals. Her birthday is this weekend, so a lot of times this event has fallen on her birthday.
"I just got the love of cars from Dad," said Stephanie, who used to compete in the high-school drags at Bandimere Speedway when she was a teen-aged student.
While Cooper does not compete in any racing series or wrench on racing cars, "I think everybody in the automotive industry is in it because of their love for cars," he said. "I've never raced. I have toys at home and it's my daughter who has actually been down this track.
"I do have a 1970 Chevelle SS that we built and it doesn't get out of the garage much. It's finished and it runs and I hear it from my wife every day that it's just taking up room in the garage and we never use it," he said, with a laugh.
As for his being selected as the NAPA Honorary Crew Member, "Honestly, I don't even know what to think," he said. "My daughter and I have been coming here together for a long time. We just enjoy being here, and then to be able to do something like this and meet Ron Capps is just a dream come true for us.
"I follow all the NHRA fuel teams and root for all of them, especially Capps. And the raw horsepower of these fuel cars is what I think attracts people to events like this."
Will Rogers, district manager for the NAPA Distribution Center in Denver, was on hand to help present the honor to Cooper. "Dennis has been a great customer for 12 years of our Louisville (Colo.) NAPA store, which is owned by Dale King," he said. "He's a big drag-racing fan. His outside salesman from the store, Ron Grande, has always kept in touch with us and let us know that he's a big drag-racing fan, and that he and Stephanie always come to this race. So, we thought it was a natural to choose him as the NAPA Honorary Crew Member for being such a good customer."
Cooper also feels the Don Schumacher Racing/NHRA/NAPA association is valuable. "It's a wonderful relationship," he said. "Dennis mentioned that these events attract people because of the sheer horsepower that is on display. This is our demographic. These are the people who buy parts from us and are in the industry. They're all potential NAPA customers and we're very excited to be a part of it, and to be associated with DSR, Ron Capps and the entire crew. Everyone at DSR is very professional and they represent us very well. I'm just excited to be a part of the whole deal."
Cooper's non-wrenching crew-member duties included escorting the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car to the staging lanes for Saturday's qualifying rounds. He then helped retrieve the car at the end of the track after each of Capps' passes.
The side window of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge sported his name as the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member this weekend.
He also met and chatted with the entire NAPA Dodge Funny Car crew, was a special guest in the NAPA hospitality area throughout the weekend, received a NAPA team jersey, experienced an up-close-and-personal view of the NAPA crew as the team worked on the car, and enjoyed a private tour of the team transporter and pit area.
NAPA AUTO PARTS distribution centers at each NHRA event during the season have different criteria for choosing the persons who are potential NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Members.