Ernie Cope (born July 17, 1969 in Spanaway, Washington) is a former NASCAR race car driver and current crew chief. He is the cousin of NASCAR race winner Derrike Cope.
He began his professional career at the age of 19 in the NASCAR Northwest Tour, winning the series' most popular driver award in 1994. In 1995 he moved to the Winston West Series and won Rookie of the Year honors as well as the Most Popular Driver award. Also that year he attempted to make his Winston Cup debut at Sears Point Raceway, as part of a combination race betwee the Winston Cup and Winston West series, but failed to qualify. However, he made the fall combination race at Phoenix International Raceway; however, he qualified last in the 44 car field and was the first car out of the race, knocked out after 19 laps by engine failure. It would be his only cup series start.
In 1996 he raced in four Craftsman Truck Series races, all in the western United States with a best finish of 19th at Portland International Raceway. He finished 57th in points. He made one start each in 1997 and 1998 and made four starts in 1999 with a best finish of 22nd at Evergreen Speedway and finished 49th in points.
Crew chief career
Cope retired from full-time racing at the end of the 1995 season and accepted a position at Geoff Bodine Racing to crew chief the #7 in the Truck Series. In 1999 he was the car chief for the Evernham Motorsports #9 team in the Cup Series driven by Bill Elliott. He was Sadler Motorsports' crew chief in 2004 and served in various capacities with Robert Yates Racing in 2005. In 2006 and 2007 he was the crew chief for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing's #59 team in the Busch Series. In 2008 he moved to Kevin Harvick Incorporated to crew chief the #2 Truck Series entry driven by Jack Sprague. In 2009 and 2010 he was the crew chief for KHI's #33 Nationwide Series entry. For 2011, Cope remained with KHI, being the crew chief for Elliott Sadler.