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NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 Preview -- #36, Derrike Cope

29 July 1997

 #36 Derrike Cope, Skittles Pontiac Grand Prix
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Brickyard 400 Advance
 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Nostalgia and history as well as a strong finish in Pocono 
will provide extra incentive for Derrike Cope and the #36 Skittles Race Team 
as they head to the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway to compete in the 
Brickyard 400 for one of the season's largest purses.

The rectangular, 2.5-mile track at Indy will challenge the best drivers 
including Cope, driver of the #36 Skittles Pontiac. Since its Winston Cup 
inception, Cope has competed in each race, with his best finish coming just 
last year when he placed 14th.

In the last five races, Cope has averaged 20.2 in finishes and placed 16th in 
the last Winston Cup race, the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. It was at 
this most recent race that Cope in the #36 Skittles Pontiac led his first 
green-flag laps of the season. One of the 18 cars finishing on the lead lap, 
the Skittles Pontiac found itself avoiding accidents and riding on the grass 
twice during the day at Pocono.

"The Skittles Pontiac had some exciting moments during that day at Pocono," 
said Cope, who remains 25th in the Winston Cup points standings. "I kept 
trying to avoid the accidents by going low and ended up in the grass twice. 
At least the car didn't sustain any serious damage.

"I remember the first time I competed at Indy," said Cope, who competed in 
the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994. "Exciting is not the word. There was a 
lot of people, more than twice what we're used to, and the atmosphere and 
history behind the track still make it one of the major races of the year. 
You can't compare Indy to any other track -- it's unique in itself.

"Indy is a difficult track but I'm confident that the Skittles Race Team is 
up to the task," added Cope. "Horsepower plays a major role and the Skittles 
Pontiac has continued to run strong during each race.

"You need to let up on the throttle to get out of turns 2 and 4," commented 
Cope. "The corners are more diamond shaped with short shoots. Basically it's 
four straight-aways which makes for twice as many corners. A small mistake 
has a bigger magnitude on this track.

"The Skittles Pontiac has been running exceptionally well during the races," 
said Cope, who's had one top-10 finish this season. "A top-25 qualifying 
effort at Indy is a must since everybody brings their best stuff and we want 
to make sure the team has enough time to work on the race setup."

By Muhleman Marketing