NASCAR has come a long way since I was a kid. Sponsorship is a huge factor and the sport has become more diverse. Women also have made a strong impact in what has primarily been a male dominated sport. Danica Patrick has gotten the most attention for sure, but you can trace the 1st woman driver back to 1949 when Sara Christian drove at Charlotte.
Since Patrick has come aboard, other female drivers have made their presence known. Racers like Jennifer Jo Cobb, Johanna Long, Maryeve Dufault have all found their niche. Last year, I took notice of two other women drivers that I felt in my gut were going to be just a little different. We live in a world where reality TV, gimmicks and marketing have proven time and time again that talent sometimes gets overshadowed by hype. These girls have proven that their hard work is resulting in them getting over with fans and getting slots to compete on the Nationwide circuit.
In racing, family is everything. We've seen it many times over the years with the Petty, Bodine, Earnhardt, and Wallace clans, along with many others. Derrike Cope, a former Daytona 500 winner and long time driver at both the Sprint and Nationwide series has 2 twin nieces and they are looking for a family dynasty. The girls have followed in their uncle's footsteps and they are amassing a strong following. The girls have a team that is delivering for them. It consists of a plan with solid marketing, bringing in unique sponsors, and the fact that they are smart, gorgeous and good at what they do most definitely helps their cause. As a result, I started paying attention!
Angela and Amber Cope made NASCAR history when they became the first twins to race at the Nationwide level. If you want to get picky, it was the first time twins competed at ANY level of NASCAR. When I got wind of them, we immediately reached out to them for an interview on Cardboard Connection Radio. I am a huge Press Pass trading card collector and thought they'd be a perfect fit for their sets, especially riding off the popularity of Danica and her first autographed and memorabilia trading cards. We were fortunate enough to get an interview with the twins on several occasions (listen), and they are extremely passionate about becoming successful race car drivers at the top level.
Needless to say that as someone who has collected cards for over 35 years and reported about them for more than a decade, I was floored when I found out that Upper Deck has one-upped Press Pass and delivered the hobby the first autographed trading card of the Cope twins. The card comes from the 2011 Goodwin Champions set. There is a regular base card featuring both blonde bombshells on the same card in their racing gear. A variation of the card also appears on the autograph checklist. The card is unique because it is signed by both girls where many of the Goodwin cards were single signatures. it goes to show you the lengths Upper Deck will go to deliver a quality set. A lot of that can be directly attributed to Grant Sandground who is the mastermind behind the Goodwin revival.
If you are a loyal listener, you know I seek out autographed trading cards of guests that appear on my show. This was a no-brainer. I bought it the day I found out about it. Later, Press Pass issued autographs of the twins along with one of Maryeve Dufault in their exceptional Total Memorabilia product, but those will have to wait for another SIGnificant cards post.