ES: Dover: Rogelio Lopez race notes

Rogelio Lopez Fourteenth At Dover, Eyes NASCAR Showdown Next Dover, Del. (Sept. 21, 2007) - For Rogelio Lopez, Friday's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series' Sunoco 150 was not the last race of his season. But it was a ...

Rogelio Lopez Fourteenth At Dover, Eyes NASCAR Showdown Next

Dover, Del. (Sept. 21, 2007) - For Rogelio Lopez, Friday's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series' Sunoco 150 was not the last race of his season. But it was a fourteenth-place finish that allowed the Telmex/Lucas Oil Ford driver to move up one more spot in the season points to finish the regular season in seventh place.

Next up for Lopez and the Dave Davis Motorsports team is the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, held at the Irwindale (California) Speedway in October.

At Dover, Lopez showed good speed in the two practice sessions held on Thursday. But that speed would not hold up in qualifying.

"The car was tight and we had to change a lot of stuff including all four springs," he said. "We made a real good lap in practice when it was all taped up but we couldn't back it up in qualifying. We made a bunch of changes before qualifying and we might have changed it a little too much and it was loose in time trials."

A loose car on Dover's high banked concrete track is a handful, and Lopez found this at the start of the Sunoco 150. After going down a lap early, Lopez got the opportunity to have the Fred Skaff-led crew work on the car. Starting with the second caution of the event, pit stops for the No. 03 Telmex/Lucas Oil Ford were made for tire changes, fueling, and chassis adjustments. Lopez got back on the lead lap following a lap 137 caution, but the handling still wasn't there and he held on for a fourteenth-place finish.

"It was loose at first and then it tightened up on me," he said. "The pit stops were good, and we tried to get to the front. We're disappointed. We wanted a top-five finish and when you run good all the time with top-fives and top-tens, anything less is a disappointment."

Lopez finished the regular season with one pole position, one win, five top-fives and five top-tens. He finished seventh in the season points and third in the Rookie of the Year standings. With that win, at Nashville's Music City Motorplex, he earned a guaranteed starting spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown next month.

"That's a real prestigious race to win and I know we'll have a good car there," Lopez said. "Fred's got some good notes because he raced there last year, and we'll be taking my favorite car, so I think we'll have a good race out there."

-credit: rg/ajc

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Rogelio Lopez