Derrike Cope announces return to Cup racing with Premium Motorsports

Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

After years of competing in the XFINITY Series, Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope is set to return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017.

Cope, 58, announced with a YouTube video Wednesday that he will return to the Cup Series paddock for the first time in six years in the upcoming season, piloting the No. 55 Toyota for Premium Motorsports in a limited schedule beginning with the Mar. 5 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

A native of Spanaway, Wash., Cope made his Cup Series debut in 1982. Cope competed full-time from 1988-98, earning two victories in 1990 including a shocking upset in the season-opening Daytona 500 when Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 Chevrolet found issue on the race’s final lap.

Cope has 409 career starts to date, with the most recent start in the MENCS coming in 2009, though he also failed to qualify for a handful of races in 2010 and ’11.

In recent years, the 36-year NASCAR veteran has competed in the XFINITY Series for his own Derrike Cope Racing (DCR) team, running part-time while also offering his No. 70 machine for driver development opportunities. DCR elected to close their Xfinity operation to pursue other options after the 2016 season.

Cope’s full 2017 schedule is unknown at this time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *