1990 Daytona 500 Winner, Derrike Cope, Makes First Start In Over 3 Years

Brandon CaldwellCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2009

The feel-good story from Friday's qualifying for the Tums Fast Relief 500 has to be the final driver to make it in on time.

Fifty-year old Derrike Cope, out of Spanaway, Washington, was the last driver to qualify in on time on Friday.

Cope, best known for his upset victory in the 1990 Daytona 500, was at the helm of the #64 Toyota for owner Larry Gunselman and Gunselman Motorsports team.

He had originally been on the entry list in his own #75 Dodge before having this opportunity come about.

His last start in the Sprint Cup Series actually was in the Nextel Cup Series in 2006 at the fall Talladega race, which Brian Vickers won.  Cope was driving for McGlynn Racing at the time.

Since then he has attempted to qualify nine other times, including six earlier this season.

This is a great story for a guy who has been at the cross roads of a career for many seasons.

When he won the Daytona 500 in 1990, he got on late night TV shows and promoted the sport with nothing but grace and class.  A guy like Cope can be easily forgotten, but not with that famous smile that shows he loves racing this much.

It's good to see a guy like Derrike Cope continuing to hang on in this sport, and if he runs, I wish him the best of luck on Sunday, go Derrike Cope, I'm pulling for ya!