Short track star Mike Cope returns in 2003

Former All Pro Champ ready to add attitude to ASA again. CONCORD, NC (November 7, 2002) -- He's back! Short Track racing star Mike Cope is returning to the American Speed Association in 2003 and there's nobody happier about it than Mike ...

Former All Pro Champ ready to add attitude to ASA again.

CONCORD, NC (November 7, 2002) -- He's back! Short Track racing star Mike Cope is returning to the American Speed Association in 2003 and there's nobody happier about it than Mike himself.

"I'm real fired up about it," says Cope with a smile. "I'm going back to what I enjoyed the past couple years; we're going ASA racing again!"

Two-time NASCAR All Pro Champ Mike Cope will make a run at the ASA National Championship in 2003. He's assembled the same team he competed with full-time with in 2001 when he amassed seven top-five finishes and nine top-ten finishes while having led 197 laps in his first full season of competition in ASA.

His decision to race with ASA once again, after a brief hiatus with the Hooters Pro Cup Series last year, is simple; he believes that ASA is headed in the right direction with the newly announced change of ownership.

"The changes that are being made are a big part of my decision to come back to ASA again," explains Cope. "A lot of change has already taken place and I believe it is all for the better. I think the sky is the limit for ASA because there's new energy being fed in it. And I know that is going to help a lot of race teams out.

"The TV package with SPEED Channel is a big bonus in my mind. That, plus how the series is going to promote the drivers and sponsors, is a positive. The Robbins family did a great job with the series, but I think the series as a whole had laid down recently and was floundering around looking for an identity. And now it has one again. The new ownership group has already brought ASA back to life and to the forefront of short track racing."

Cope left the series prematurely last season after a disagreement in post-race inspection at Irwindale Speedway in California.

"I've made a lot of mistakes in my racing career and I honestly feel like I made a mistake leaving ASA last year," admits Cope. "My views on what happened didn't match the views of the powers-to-be in ASA at that time. And I'm not going to say who was right or who was wrong about the specific ruling, but I know our decision to leave was probably wrong and that's why I am so happy to be back."

Cope's long-time friend and supporter, Charlie White of FloridaAutoAuction.com, couldn't agree more.

"We enjoyed ASA until what happened last year, and it was my decision to pull out of the series. I believed it was the right thing to do at the time, but times have changed. I think the recent events involving ASA are going to be positive for the series. I've spoken to Steve Dale (new principal owner of ASA) and I'm excited about what he is saying."

"The level of professionalism in ASA has always been there," continues Cope. "On and off the track, through the tech area and through the grandstands, the professionalism is head and shoulders above any other competing series. Plus, it's easier for us to sell a sponsor in ASA than any other series. Whenever we do bring our sponsors to a race, we feel like that is a positive for the company. Other series feel like a glorified Saturday night show and ASA is so much more than that."

Cope and the team are already working on rebuilding their arsenal for their 2003 campaign, which already includes a brand new Port City chassis racecar. His team from the 2001 season will remain intact and FloridaAutoAuction.com returns as an associate sponsor. Cope is still looking for a primary sponsor or business opportunities with an investor for the Florida-based team.

-51sports-

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