And that burned Derrike.
At Charlotte that spring, I talked to Cope, and he said that, one of these days, we're going to kick their butts and show them it wasn't a fluke. Not in those words, but that was the idea.
I didn't run the column on Derrike that week. I had plenty of stuff that weekend, so I saved it for the next week — Dover.
I watched the Dover race with mounting excitement. Cope was leading late in the race, and I was rooting for him. Obviously, it would look good to have him win right after saying he was going to kick their butts.
I only did that one more time. In 1998, I was writing an advance for the Daytona 500. I interviewed a few people, then wrote that it was Earnhardt's year to win the Great American Race. He did, of course. No one smiled and told me I had great timing.
But I knew that, in this case, I did.