Mike Cope Racing Ready for Final Round at COTA
November 3, 2022
Sitting P3 in the national points championship, Merrill hopes to end season in victory lane
Clearwater, FL (November 3, 2022)— The dust has settled on a disappointing Virginia International Raceway (VIR) finish and the Mike Cope Racing (MCR) team has their sights set on nothing but victory as they head to Circuit of the Americas for the final round of the Trans Am TA2 season. Thomas Merrill has proven he’s a force to be reckoned with in TA2 making 8 stops on the podium in 2022, the most of any competitor in the series. Along with the podiums, this season has handed the MCR team 4 finishes of 20th (or worse) making Merrill’s chances for his first TA2 championship slim to none. While the race for P2 in the national points championship is on fire, hope for the top spot in the championship race hasn’t been completely lost.
So, what we’re telling you is… there’s still a chance! A very slim chance, but nonetheless… a CHANCE!
Let’s look back on the season to see how the MCR team and Merrill found themselves 3rd in the overall points race heading into the season finale at COTA.
Race 1: Sebring- Started P13, Finished P3. This race included an engine swap and a car swap. With the help from the wings of late teammate Al Prieto, Merrill was able to bring home a podium.
Race 2: Charlotte- Started P6, Finished P20. Running 3rd with lap times faster than the leaders when a brake line came loose ending a chance at another podium.
Race 3: Road Atlanta- Started P6, Finished P2
Race 4: Laguna Seca- Started P8, Finished P23. A hole in the radiator hose caused the engine to overheat and inevitably fail. Laguna Seca is Merrill’s home track.
Race 5: Sonoma- Started P1, Finished P2
Race 6: Lime Rock- Started P3, Finished P1
Race 7: Mid-Ohio- Started P2, Finished P1
Race 8: Road America- Started P5, Finished P3
Race 9: Nashville- Started P1, Finished P25. Avoidable contact ended the day for Merrill while running P2. The #26 lead laps early in the race and was just biding time to make a run at the end.
Race 10: Watkins Glen- Started P2, Finished P2
Race 11: VIR- Started P2, Finished P21. With the car to win the race, Merrill was caught up in an incident while running second. Avoidable contact by the lead car, sent a lapped car spinning and directly into the driver side of Merrill ending a chance at victory lane and what would have been a GREAT championship race at COTA.
Merrill shared a few thoughts about the handling of the car leading up to the unavoidable wreck at VIR.
“Our car was great on long runs. I was playing that race out just like what we did at Mid-Ohio earlier this year. I knew he [Connor Mosack] would be weaker later on and I was just biding my time,” explained Merrill. “[Brent] Crews showed exactly what we would have done without the wreck. Our car was really good.”
When asked about his thoughts regarding the on-track incident, here’s what he had to say:
“It’s a shame to see a front-running car take out a lapped car like that, it really should never happen. That part of the race is always challenging, especially when you’re battling for the lead, but they have every right to be out there just like we do, and It’s our responsibility to get by clean,” said Merrill. “I hate it for Ty [Young], he was doing a great job all weekend keeping his nose clean and no doubt would have brought it home in one piece if he had the chance. It’s really unfair to him, and unlucky for us that we got caught up in it.”
Despite the finishes, and the should haves and could haves, the only goal on the mind of Thomas Merrill and the entire Mike Cope Racing team is to qualify as good as possible and put the #26 in victory lane to end the season on a high note. It’s called racing, not winning, for a reason.
Joining Merrill under the Mike Cope Racing tent are 6 other COPE Chassis’:
#9 Keith Prociuk, HP Tuners
#14 Matt Parent, Venture General Construction
#16 Jim Gallaugher, Waypoint
#22 Ty Young, Ty J. Young Wealth Management
#38 Jeffrey Birdwell, Hartman Davidson
#51 Darin Mock, AAN Adjusters
With the 2022 season ending and 2023 on the horizon, we can’t thank our dedicated drivers enough for the constant support of Mike Cope Racing and Cope Race Cars. Without every one of you none of this would be possible. Thank you for helping us grow and continue to make us a better.
Cope Chassis makes up 36% of the 55-car field with 20 drivers representing Cope Race Cars for this weekend’s Trans Am presented by Pirelli TA2 finale at COTA. Practice and Qualifying are set for Saturday, November 5th with the main event on Sunday, November 6th at 10:45am EST, 11:45am Central. Watch LIVE as Speedtour.TV streams on YouTube. Subscribe to www.youtube.com/thetransamseries or www.youtube.com/speedtourtv to cheer on the Mike Cope Racing team and ALL of the Cope Race Car drivers in the field!
#MikeCopeRacing #CopeRaceCars #CopeChassis #GoTransAm #TA2 #COTA #SeasonFinale #Speedtour
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: Keyser Manufacturing, FiveStar Race Car Bodies, Wilwood Brakes, ProMotor Engines, Bassett Wheels, Penske Racing Shocks, Patterson Drysump and Tilton.
Parties interested in the upcoming 2023 MCRE “Arrive and Drive” Program in TA2, or would like to purchase a Cope Race Cars Chassis can contact the team office at 727-201-8910 or email email@example.com