Tha Sports Junkies 101

Derrike Cope, Premium Motorsports Part Ways

Photo by Chris Raftis via Flickr


After Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond, Derrike Cope and Premium Motorsports announced they have parted ways. Cope, 58, has raced for Jay Robinson’s team since Atlanta this year. Other drivers who have raced for Premium Motorsports in 2017 include Michael Waltrip, Reed Sorenson, Joey Gase, Ross Chastain, Kevin O’Connell, Tommy Regan, and Gray Gaulding.

In 13 starts this year, Cope has raced in both the 15 and the 55 cars. His best finish this year is 31st at Bristol and Charlotte. Cope is ineligible for championship points this season. Premium Motorsports is currently 34th and 39th in the Owner’s Standings with the 15 and 55 cars.

At Richmond on Saturday night, Cope brought out a late race caution by getting into the wall with 3 laps to go. This ended up costing Martin Truex Jr the win. Truex responded to this by saying “Tonight sucked, plain and simple, with just the way it ended up. You’re out there dominating and you know your car is not very good on restarts for a couple laps. Then, a caution for a guy who shouldn’t have even been out there. It’s kind of ridiculous.”

The 1990 Daytona 500 champion stated, “I’m thankful to Jay Robinson and the folks at Premium for the opportunity they have given me this season to return to the Cup Series but the timing is right to pursue other opportunities.” Announcements have yet to be made for his plans for the remainder of 2017 or 2018. Cope is known in 2017 as the oldest driver currently competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Career Highlights

Derrike Cope has had a very long career in all levels of NASCAR. He made his Cup debut at Riverside in 1982. In 422 races, he has 2 wins including an upset in the 1990 Daytona 500. He also has 32 top 10s and 1 pole.  Just to put it in perspective, Cope’s rookie season (1982) was Darrell Waltrip’s second championship. His 26 years driving at the top level of stock car racing have seen some of the greatest drivers in the modern era.

The man once known for beating Dale Earnhardt at Daytona is another free agent driver looking for an opportunity to race. The future is uncertain for one of NASCAR’s journeyman veterans, as Derrike Cope needs to find a ride for 2018.