New Talent and Full Stable for Mike Cope Racing at Road Atlanta
April 12, 2019
A full house of MCR engineered race cars made for a busy weekend
Braselton, GA (April 11, 2019)— Round 2 of the 2019 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli welcomed a full house of cars under the Mike Cope Racing tent. Team regulars Matt Parent, Keith Prociuk, Lawless Alan and Maurice Hull were joined by the up and coming NASCAR talents of, Riley Herbst and Ty Gibbs. For Herbst and Gibbs, Road Atlanta was their first time turning both right… and left.
The test session began Friday, under balmy and cool temps, as 29 cars took to the course. MCR teammates, Keith Prociuk and Lawless Alan ran consistent practice laps amongst the top TA2 muscle cars as the crew worked diligently on individual set ups, looking for both speed and driver comfort. The hard work paid off with both cars qualifying in the top 10.
NASCAR up and comer, Ty Gibbs, wasted no time showing off his talent during his introduction into the Trans Am series. The young driver earned himself a 14th starting spot and brought home a 5th place finish which also won him the honors of “Cool Move of the Race” presented by CoolShirt.
“I am a circle track driver typically,” said Gibbs. “This is my first time on a road course and in a TA2 car. I logged more than 1000 laps on the simulator to prepare for this race because I was so nervous. But this was a ton of fun in these cars with the power and downforce that they have. I had a blast out there. It’s a totally different world, but the seat time was great.”
Fellow NASCAR competitor, and rising star, Riley Herbst followed suit behind Gibbs. Under the guidance of driver coach, Michael Self, Herbst quickly acquired the skills needed to maneuver his MCR house car around the highly demanding course of Road Atlanta. Unfortunately, his grid position hampered his qualifying efforts and he was forced to settle for a 20th starting spot.
“From the outside looking in, I would say both Ty and Riley had productive weekends overall and both learned and developed their road racing abilities quite a bit,” explained driver coach, Michael Self. “Road Atlanta isn’t an easy track to get comfortable on by any means, and the TA2 cars are really demanding to drive around there, so with all that being thrown their way I think both drivers did a really solid job.”
MCR Arrive and Drive program drivers Matt Parent and Maurice Hull would qualify directly behind Herbst in the 21st and 22nd positions.
Sundays A.M. clouds cleared, and more mild temperatures welcomed the 2 P.M. main event powered by AEM. The 40-lap, 100-mile TA2 race, once again, was filled with tough competition as all three manufacturers showed their power in the early stages of the race.
MCR Driver, Matt Parent, was forced to relinquish his starting position and returned to the paddock with starter issues; however, the crew was able to assist and get him back on track to continue the race. Once back on track, Matt was running lap times consistent with the top 15 and we predict that if we had not had issues, Parent would have ended his day well inside the top 15.
On lap 4, Herbst entered pit road for a tire change after succumbing to tire failure. Losing 3 laps to correct the issue, he couldn’t recover, but was able to gain great seat time. Like Parent, once back on the track, Herbst was running lap times consistent with the top 10 and a top 10 finish was in his grasp.
We witnessed great, competitive racing between Ty Gibbs and Lawless Alan as both talented drivers fought for position halfway through the race.
“Lawless shows improvement after every session on the track, and he’s going to be one to watch as the season progresses,” believes crew chief, Jason Bowser. “At the beginning of the race he fell back a few spots and battled his way back to the 8th position, battling with Ty most of the race. A late race spin with only 3 laps to go lead to a finishing position of 11th. The finish definitely doesn’t reflect the amazing effort shown by Lawless the entire race.”
Another good, clean run for Keith Prociuk as he maintained a top 10 spot the entire race coming home in P7. Consistency is key with Keith and if the pace he’s set during the first 2 rounds of the season is any consolation, his is knocking on a podium by the end of 2019.
Halfway rundown of MCR drivers:
Veteran driver, Maurice Hull, held his own throughout the 100-mile race. With less than 10 to go, was sent off course, but regained track position and held strong till the end.
The second half of the race was plagued by cautions, subsequently boiling down to a 3-lap shoot out with Gibbs posting his fastest lap of the weekend on the last lap of the race. Proving that it’s just a matter of seat time, and we’ll be seeing these young drivers on the podium soon.
Finishing position of MCR drivers:
Now back from Road Atlanta, the MCR crew is diligently preparing the cars to head across the country and take on the long haul from Florida to California for Round 3 of the Trans Am Series Presented by Pirelli series at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. This will be the first visit for the MCR team at Laguna Seca and we will be bringing with us our Arrive and Drive regulars Matt Parent, Keith Prociuk and Lawless Alan. The MCR House Car will also be participating in the festivities as Jim Gallaugher will pilot the #26 in his 2019 TA2 season debut.
Follow us to California May 3-5th and if you can’t be there in person you can always keep track of the Mike Cope Racing team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow @mikecoperacing on all platforms for the latest team news and photos.
About Mike Cope Racing Enterprises, Inc:
Perhaps no other team has worked so diligently to achieve success over the course of 30 years as MCRE. Over the years, they have successfully launched corporate sponsorships in national series, developed short track and SCCA Road race champions and mentored young upcoming drivers. Lead by Mike Cope, he brings the same enthusiasm, dedication and knowledge to his race team that made him victorious in his own racing career.
MCRE offers a variety of services for drivers interested in the Trans Am Series’ TA2 program, including custom builds, arrive and drive programs, maintenance programs, consulting, driver mentoring, set-up and shock dyno. Mike Cope Racing Enterprises is based in Clearwater, Florida. Learn more at www.mikecoperacecars.com.
Mike Cope Racing Enterprises partners include: Koury Engines, Keyser Manufacturing, FiveStar RaceCar Bodies, Wilwood Brakes, Bassett Wheels, Penske Racing Shocks, Integra Racing Shocks, and Tilton.
Parties interested in the MCRE “Arrive and Drive” Program in TA2, or would like to purchase a Mike Cope Chassis can contact the team office at 727-201-8910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org