Once again, Mike Cope Racing Enterprises expects to play a starring role in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2 division. The Clearwater, Fla.-based team will bring a strong group of talented drivers and no fewer than five Ford Mustangs to the season opener, Feb. 28-Mar. 1 at Sebring International Raceway.
Thomas Merrill returns, bringing his skill and professionalism to the MCR team, driving the No. 81 Diehl-Merrill Racing / Cope Race Cars Mustang. Along with Concept Parts Solutions, Merrill will proudly represent a new brand, HP Tuners, in 2020 — new to Merrill’s car but well known by Mike Cope Racing.
“We’re thrilled to partner with MCR (once again) for the 2020 Trans Am season,” said an excited Merrill. “2019 could not have gone better for us and MCR, with two wins in two races; and that bodes well for us as we go into 2020.”
Back with a strong desire to win, Keith Prociuk returns for a sixth consecutive season. This year, however, Prociuk is changing it up a bit and switching brands as he jumps being the wheel of a new radiant blue No. 9 HP Tuners Mustang.
The new kid on the block, proverbially speaking, is Jim Gallaugher who looks to gain on-track experience in 2020 while dialing in his skills in his No. 16 Madison Development, LLC Mustang.
“The Mike Cope Racing team has welcomed me with open arms, and I’m enjoying the new camaraderie with my fellow teammates, “explains an excited Gallaugher. “After vintage racing for more than a decade, I am [focusing] on running TA2 this season, and I look forward to participating in more races. I consider it a complete honor to run with some of the best road racers in the country.”
After a leave of absence mid-season 2019 due to a demanding workload, Matt Parent returns to his seat behind the wheel of the No. 14 Venture Ford. The familiar hugger orange wrap scheme (photo above) will be left behind as Parent debuts a new look for 2020.
Rounding out the roster for Round 1 will be young up-and-comer Jett Noland who will use the No. 99 Cope Racing “house car” getting his feet wet in the Trans Am’s TA2 division. The short-track oval racer will be switching lanes at Sebring, arriving in Florida fresh from the notorious New Smyrna Speedway Speed Weeks 2020.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of Mike Cope’s TA2 race cars,” said Noland. “Everyone in the paddock knows the Cope name is synonymous with speed. I can’t wait to get down to Sebring.”
Meanwhile, team mentor and winning NASCAR driver Michael Self will once again offer his expertise and knowledge to MCR’s drivers as an on- and off-track consultant.
The series gets underway this week, with load-in scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27, a test day Feb. 28, practice and qualifying on Feb. 29 and The Trans Am presented by Pirelli TA2 Race March 1 at 1:20 p.m. EST.
For the latest updates on the Mike Cope Racing team, follow along on social media. The team will be live all weekend on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — @mikecoperacing on all platforms.