1990 Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope has signed K and N Performance Filters as his primary sponsor for the 2001 Daytona 500.

The Riverside, California based company will sponsor Cope's Quest Motor Racing Pontiac in the season opening Daytona 500. Cope and drag racing icon Warren Johnson formed the team in 2000 and are seeking additional funding for the balance of the 2001 Winston Cup season.

"We have sponsored a lot of different type racing events and we were very fortunate to be introduced to Derrike Cope through our drag racing affiliations," said Rodney Mall, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for K& N Performance Filters. "We had an opportunity to sit down and talk and we now have an opportunity to be the primary sponsor for Derrike at the Daytona 500. We're extremely happy, greatly honored, and look forward to the opportunity to have an ongoing relationship with Derrike."

K & N is a 35 year old company that started out primarily making air filters for motorcycles and for off road desert type racing applications. Since then, the company has grown to cover any application of just about any automobile on the road.

"Rodney Mall from K & N stepped up to take the primary sponsorship for the car at Daytona and we're very pleased about that," Cope said. "We have a number of people that have really stepped up to help us and procure the funding necessary for us to go to Daytona and put together a great effort. We're very pleased and very appreciative of all their support."

Quest Motor Racing has acquired associate sponsorship for the 500 from Wholesale Manufactured Housing Incorporated and VDO North America, a world leader in vehicle instrumentation and the School of Automotive Machinists, which is based in Houston, Texas. VDO is supplying all the performance gauges for Cope's Pontiac at Daytona.

"We're excited to be sponsoring Derrike at this year's Winston Cup season kickoff," said VDO's Blaine Lowrey. "It's a great opportunity for VDO to support NASCAR as well as a former Daytona 500 winner. Derrike is a great
competitor and Quest Motor Racing is a first rate operation."

"The School of Automotive Machinists is very excited about its association with Derrike and Quest Motor Racing," said Judson Massingill, Director of Education. "Having graduates working both on the car and at Warren Johnson's with the engine development is what the school strives for."

Black Fly Sunglasses, J.E.B. Motors Marine Sales, and Shoney's of Daytona are also involved with the team.

Cope says he is very proud of the effort his team has put forward preparing for the Daytona 500. He was very impressed with the chemistry and teamwork of the young team during the GM test at Daytona back in January. "We've really worked very hard collectively," Cope said. "The guys have put in an enormous amount of hours to really maximize the effort. They did a great job at the test in Daytona and I was very pleased with the effort. It was like we'd been together for a long period of time. I feel good from what we have put together from a personnel standpoint."

Cope says his car worked very well during drafting practice. He said that getting his car to work well in the draft was what he and the team concentrated on at the test.
"I'm guardedly optimistic," Cope said. "We drafted down there with the likes of Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson, Jerry Nadeau and a lot of those guys. The car was very, very good in the draft and handled exceptionally well. My main focus was to come up with a car to draft well for the 125 because that's where the majority of the cars have to get in the race."

In a scenario that has become the norm for Cope, he will travel to Daytona again this year knowing that he must run well in the 125 to qualify for the Daytona 500. It's not an unfamiliar situation for the veteran driver and more times than not he transferred into the Great American Race. "Over the last 10 years, I have very seldom gone to Daytona knowing I was in the race. Maybe once," Cope said. "I've pretty much had to go down there with the mindset that I have to race my way in every time. I try to enjoy myself all the way up to Thursday and go in there with my game face on and be ready to go out and do battle and know what the task at hand is. That's my mindset again."