Cope twins hope to mix fashion, fierce racing in NASCAR
Angela, Amber Cope are NASCAR's first set of twins to compete in the same race
The twins aren't looking to follow in Danica's footsteps, but open their own doors
Their uncle, Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, inspired the twins to pursue racing
Amber and Angela Cope certainly know how to make an impression around the garage.
NASCAR's first twins to compete in the same race in one of the top-3 series have carved out their own unique niche in the hard-driving, male-dominated sport. But don't let the blond tresses, made-up faces or designer shades fool you: These girls means business.
But these ladies aren't just looking to take the checkers on Saturday. They're hoping to branch out into a multi-industry brand. The two are in talks to star in their own reality show and currently run Pink Candy Boutique.
SI.com spoke with the Cope twins, nieces of Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, to discuss their debut last fall, their plans for this season and what it's like to be two of the only females on the track.
SI.com: How does it feel to be the first twins in NASCAR, competing in the same event, same series?
Angela: Up to Martinsville we had been under a lot of stress and we were all really excited. It's always been a dream of Amber's and mine to be out on the race track together with identical cars or trucks for the races. Obviously, our uncle Derrike has been behind us 110 percent as well as our mom and dad. To be at Martinsville, to have two trucks out there, we did well, for what we had, we did well.
We came out there and Amber was 26 and myself in the 30s. I can't say I'm pleased with those finishes, but in the perspective that we went out there, we used our heads, we got laps, we got seat time, we learned, we didn't make any mistakes pitting wise. We loved learning there so much, so it's a big accomplishment for us. And we've gotten a ton of publicity, which we didn't expect going into it. We just hoped that it was going to be huge because you've never seen two identical twins in NASCAR and I think NASCAR needs something like this. Fans need something. For now, everyone is struggling and if we can go out and do what we've been doing I think we really have a good shot at it.
SI.com: What was the biggest thing you took away from Martinsville?
Amber: I think us personally finishing the race and getting laps. Because we haven't raced in over a year. The last time we were in a car was in the ARCA when we did the Daytona test. Our number one goal was to finish the race.
SI.com: How did you feel as two of only a handful of female drivers? Did you feel any added pressure because you're both young as well?
Amber: I don't know, I think there definitely needs to be more women in this sport. At the same time, I think we're all wanting the same thing and you know how women are, they're catty. But Angela and I work together and Danica has done very well for herself, but it's not really about Danica, we're in it for ourselves and Angela and I are going to open our own doors and our own opportunities and it's about us now.
Angela: We're not worried about what other women are doing. We wish them the best. But we're all fighting for the same thing, so ultimately Amber and I want to be the best there's ever been and I feel our shot is coming and we will have a shot at it. Not just one driver, we're going to be two.
SI.com: Who were your racing icons, either active or retired drivers?
Amber: Growing up, I would say, when we were racing go-karts back in the day, it was always our uncle. We were always looking up to our uncle. I mean, he won the Daytona 500, he's a very well-respected man and we've always looked up to that. Being at the level, where we're entering now, we look up to all these guys, they've all done very well for themselves. It's a dream come true for us, but in that respect, we've got a job to do and we want to be just as good as them. Which if we can find the funding, which we need to do all that, we will make it. I truly believe that.
SI.com: How do you hope your presence in NASCAR will impact the sport, given the difficulties its faced these past few years?
Angela: We just want women, whether it's young or old, whatever the age is, we want people to look up to Amber and I. If we're out there to drive fast and look good, we just want women, young girls, to look up to Amber and I and be like wow, they can have dreams and achieve that, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication
Amber: And I think another thing too is that there is going to be a driver that has it all. Whether it's looks, fashion, clothing, and Angela and I are into fashion, clothing, makeup, that's us. And I think that people don't take us seriously when it comes to that stuff, but we're hoping that we'll have a chance to prove them wrong because there are going to be drivers, and hopefully two of them, that will be able to prove that.
SI.com: That's probably one of the more striking things about the two of you. NASCAR hasn't really seen that many drivers who are fashion forward, conscious about their looks.
Amber: Exactly, and I think that's the problem we've been running into because people don't take us seriously. They want us to be models, but we're not. There're going to be drivers who have it all, and that's going to be us.
SI.com: Has anyone, either on the track or off, told you that your look might not be suited for NASCAR?
Angela: I'm sure that everyone has their own thoughts and perceptions about Amber and I. But ultimately being at Martinsville, we've proven ourselves to a lot of people and we have earned a lot of respect.
SI.com: Switching gears a bit, what is your dynamic on the track with each other? Any sibling rivalry when the engines start?
Amber: I think our dad and our mom have always told us that in racing we're a team and we work together and that's how its always been and I think that's how it's always going to be. We learn a lot from each other, whether it's one car having issues and the other car's not or we're having trouble, we talk about it and discuss it and we help each other out. We're a team and we're going to stick together.
SI.com: Given you grew up in a racing family, what is your fondest memory of racing?
Angela: We did a limited a schedule in the ARCA series, it was our first race of the year, and Amber and I had two cars up at Kentucky, and we were way off the pace and crashed, so I think we were 32nd and 36th or something, and Amber and I went out there and I qualified eighth and Amber qualified 15th. It was really an exciting moment to know that you had a decent car and to have two cars in the top-15 it was so exciting. I can't even describe to you the feeling of how proud we were and how we felt. Like we were really accomplishing something. At the time, ARCA was really big for us, so it was a dream come true. So it was an exciting time.
Amber: I think that when we were younger, the fact of knowing our uncle Derrike won the Daytona 500. We were racing go-karts then, and I think that really kind of motivated us. Yeah we were 10, 11 years old but we looked up to our uncle then and just listening to it on the radio when he won the Daytona 500. We had to listen to the radio because our TV went out and we heard him say, "Derrike Cope won the Daytona 500," and it was crazy.
Angela: It's funny, I remember that day like it was yesterday. We had matching sweatshirts that said "Our uncle won the Daytona 500," like two days later. We looked like a bunch of dorks, but it was OK.
SI.com: Stepping away from racing, what other interests do you have?
Angela: We're into fashion, I think that's where I see we're going. Between that and NASCAR, it's our online clothing boutique, those are the only things that really interest us and excite us. We love making people feel good about themselves.
Amber: I think also, Angela and I would love to have our own reality show. We have some interesting lives and I think any opportunities that way I think could be great.