Kevin Cooper still King of the Hill at Cherokee
Dale Wilkerson September 2010
Kevin Cooper proved Sunday night that even though he is not competing at the Cherokee Speedway every week, doesn’t mean that he is still not the King of The Hill.
Cooper, who was crowned Stock-4 Track Champion last fall at Cherokee, has been competing at the Harris Motor Speedway this season, where he currently stands second in points. This weekend, many drivers from Harris and Cherokee competed at both tracks in conjunction with the Southern All Stars East Series events that were held at both tracks over the weekend.
Cooper and the rest of the 22 car field rolled under the green flag with Bradley Weaver and Brayden Pruitt at the front of the pack. The race was slowed several times for accidents. Weaver and Pruitt were battling for the top spot when the two cars touched. Pruitt made contact with the wall while Weaver drove away, only to have a tire go flat forcing him to pit road.
Weaver’s tire trouble handed the lead to Jason Buff, who had ran inside the top four for most of the race. Buff led Cooper on the last re-start and pulled ahead for a five car-length advantage. On the final lap, Buff’s car pushed up in turn three and Cooper pounced to grab the victory. “Buff looked like he had a slight push in the car all night and on that last lap and I was able to capitalize on that of the last turn,” said race winner Kevin Cooper.
With the win, Cooper is assured a spot in the World Crown Four Cylinder Nationals which will be held at Cherokee Speedway in November over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“This win is special. As I look over my shoulder I see that picture of my friend Mike (Butler) and it is almost like he is here. This was a tough race with a lot of very good racecars and my crew worked hard all night to give us this chance at a win,” said Cooper from the Mike Butler Victory Lane.
Copper was one of many drivers to carry tributes to Mike Butler on their racecars this season. Copper began the year with the rear panel dedicated to his late friend and Jason Buff’s #21 carries a Butler logo on the right door. Butler’s family attended the race as Mike was enshrined in the Cherokee Speedway’s Hall of Fame Sunday night. Cooper used his visit to Victory Lane to have a picture made standing on the wall below Butler’s picture while his car sat in front of him in the ‘Mike Butler Victory Lane.’
With a change in the format for the World Crown Four Cylinder National this year, Cooper acknowledged how important this victory was to him and his team. “Having the guaranteed spot in the Nationals is bigger this year than ever. You never know what might happen in qualifying or in the heat races for the Nationals and it will be nice to have an ace in the hole if needed. My car has been strong over the past month and hopefully we can continue to improve.”
Copper is locked in an intense point’s battle with Justin Ward at the Harris Motor Speedway. Both drivers have scored wins and top five finishes with each looking to capture the 2010 Harris Motor Speedway Street Stock Four track championship.
Coming off his 2009 track championship at Cherokee, Cooper is battle tested and he can lean on that experience from last season as the season winds down.