Sometimes in life you have to put aside things you’re passionate about in order to pay the bills. That’s exactly what Travis Cope has done for the last couple of years. Cope, a former Florida Governor’s Cup 200 winner, has been mostly out of the seat of his Super Late Model since the end of 2015 in order to focus on his family’s Trans-Am Series road racing program. But this Saturday, Cope will be doing something that he loves. He’ll be racing a Super Late Model at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) in the Red Eye 100.


The 2014 Governor’s Cup champion hasn’t raced at New Smyrna Speedway in more than one year, but his resume has proven that he knows how to get around the historic half-mile. Cope is a previous Red Eye 100 winner, as well as a winner in the Pete Orr Memorial to go along with his Governor’s Cup triumph.


300x250 51 Network 2017(2)His absence was not caused by a lack of desire to go oval racing, but it was more because of a lack of time and funding, said Cope.


“It started with a basic affordability issue,” Cope explained to “Other than that we’ve been really focused and busy with our Trans-Am road racing program and our arrive-and-drive program. So really it’s been a lack of funds and time. Now that we’ve made a little bit of funds we can go back and do what we actually love to do, thankfully. I’m very grateful. We’re doing our best to get back to doing what we like to do. If we don’t, it will drive us insane, really.”


A little more than a year ago Cope got a new Super Late Model. So far he has run that car just a couple times with mixed results. Cope said he’s gone “back to the drawing board” with the car now. He also said he’ll be treating Saturday’s race as a “test race” to see how their car is and how well it reacts to adjustments. Cope added that the plan, if all goes well on Saturday, is to race the last few nights of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in February at New Smyrna.


“We usually do the last couple of days of Speedweeks generally. That’s what we’re shooting for again. This is a test race to see if we can go back over there if everything goes how we want it to.”


When asked what would make Cope deem Saturday’s race successful from a testing standpoint, the Weeki Wachee, Florida native said that two things would have to happen.


“I would say being able to finish all 100 laps and have a good gauge of what the car is going to do on a longer run on a cold night over there. We’ve yet to really make that happen when we have the car start out decent. I just want to finish 100 laps and see what the car is going to do and go from there. We’ll maybe do some testing in between the Red Eye and Speedweeks if we’re excited about it and then go back and have some fun.”


The Red Eye 100 takes place this Saturday, January 6th at New Smyrna Speedway. will have live Trackside Now coverage of the event.


-By Rob Blount, Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit:

Travis Cope Eyes Return to SLM Racing at New Smyrna’s Red Eye