NASCAR may be getting more diverse, but the sport’s still dominated by men. Angela and Amber Cope aim to change that. Inspired by their uncle, Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, the twin sisters compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in hopes of reaching the big leagues of the Sprint Cup. Two hot blonde adrenaline junkies chasing racing super-stardom? No wonder they’re in reality show talks. As the pair preps for a Chicagoland Speedway race this weekend, Angela (right) talked to Made Man about sibling rivalry, her gender’s place in the sport and what it takes to win over a fast woman. The bikini pic at the end speaks for itself.
MADE MAN: What drew you to auto-racing?
ANGELA COPE: Racing’s been in our family. We were brought up in racing. Then we got a go-kart for Christmas one year, not really knowing what it was. Ever since then we’ve loved it. We traveled all over the Northwest doing races, championships. And we kept getting better and better. For me it’s the speed, the adrenaline.
MM: Have you ever raced head-to-head against your sister?
AC: We have. We did the Champion World Truck Series last year and then this year the Nationwide Series. Racing against her is a dream come true.
MM: Do you guys go easy on each other or keep it competitive?
AC: We’re competitive, but we’re definitely a team. We’re not out there racing against one another or trying to pass one another. I think in our minds we know we want to beat each other, but we’re not going to say that out loud. We also have really different driving styles, but we always stay fairly close on the track. Amber’s more reserved and laid back, whereas I’m more aggressive.
MM: What’s your proudest accomplishment as a racer so far?
AC: Just making it to the elite series in NASCAR. I remember watching our uncle do it on TV and saying, “We want to race in NASCAR one day.” Now to be doing it, I can’t even fathom it. It’s really exciting.
MM: How close are you to finding a spot in NASCAR? What are the biggest challenges to getting signed?
AC: Finding the funding to run a full-time schedule is the biggest challenge. Right now we’re working on closing a deal for a full-ride for 2012 to share. Every other weekend we’ll switch off driving.
MM: Is there any stigma associated with being a girl in NASCAR?
AC: With Danica [Patrick] coming into the sport it definitely opens up opportunities for females in general. NASCAR is more open to women coming in now than it was, say, 40 years ago.
MM: On a dating-related note, what’s it take for a guy to impress you?
AC: I’d say being successful and having your own career. My boyfriend owns his own company and is a very successful businessman. Just being around someone like that, you learn so much. When I first came into racing, Uncle Derrike took care of it all for me. Now, I’ve learned to manage my own career and take it on myself. It’s important to be with someone who can teach you things.
MM: Any words for your fans?
AC: If it wasn’t for the fans we wouldn’t be where we’re at today. The fans are what make NASCAR.