62-Year-Old Derrike Cope Becomes 2nd Oldest NASCAR Driver to Enter the Iconic Daytona 500

Published 01/20/2021, 12:14 PM EST
DARLINGTON, SC – SEPTEMBER 04: Derrike Cope, driver of the #70 Sammi’s Best/Wheel Chill Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on September 4, 2015 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)


Evidently, NASCAR is never going to stop surprising anyone. After Jamie McMurray announced a shock return to the sport for the Daytona 500, another veteran has followed suit. 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope has announced his intention to run in the iconic American race once more.

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Considering that he is 62-years old, many tip this to be his final Daytona 500 start. For the coming season, he is expected to race for the Rick Ware Racing team in the #15 Chevrolet.

To further assist his efforts, Jacob Companies will act as his sponsor for the iconic race and the team even has a charter for him.

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I have known Rick and his family for a long time and I am excited to have the opportunity to go to Daytona and race for another win,” Cope said.

I am excited to have Don Perry with Jacob Company as the primary sponsor as well. I want to thank Mike and Matt Kohler and Bill Woehlemann with StarCom Fiber for making this all possible! I could not be more excited to get back to Daytona!”

What has Derrike Cope been doing during his retirement from NASCAR?

When the NASCAR veteran stepped away from racing, he became the team manager for the Cup team, Starcom Racing. During his racing days, Cope made more than 700 starts across all 3 series.

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He earned 2 Cup Series victories, including his Daytona triumph and a win at Dover. He also has one Xfinity Series win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Derrike Cope, driver of the #70 SWAE Watches/Trayvax.com Chevrolet, greets fans during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The driver declared that he is still ‘young at heart’ and is in good shape. He even revealed that he managed to lose around 20 pounds over the winter break. This is why Cope is confident about his Daytona chances.

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This year’s Daytona 500 will be Cope’s first Cup start since the 2018 Southern 500 at Darlington. During that race, as part of NASCAR Throwback Weekend, his car carried his own Bojangles paint scheme that he ran for NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough’s team during the 1993 season.

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Dhruv George

11397 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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