THE STREETS OF TORONTO BELONG TO RJ LOPEZ; SOPHOMORE SENSATION EARNS FIRST CAREER WIN TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 20, 2010)- Piloting his number 6 Lopesport Racing Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette around the streets of ...
THE STREETS OF TORONTO BELONG TO RJ LOPEZ; SOPHOMORE SENSATION EARNS FIRST CAREER WIN
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 20, 2010)- Piloting his number 6 Lopesport Racing Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette around the streets of Toronto, RJ Lopez discovered the expressway to victory. Lopez led from lap 14 to the checkered flag, easing out a margin of victory of nearly nine seconds over Tony Ave. With the win, Lopez earns his first career SCCA Pro Trans-Am series win as well as etches his name in the record books as the first Dominican National to taste victory in the Trans-Am series.
Lopez started the 44 lap race from the fourth location on the grid but quickly moved his way forward to the front. Quickly taking advantage a racing incident by Tomy Drissi, Lopez jumped into second spot on the third lap and set his sights for race leader Ave.
"We left a little on the table in qualifying, but again I was pretty confident for the race because I knew that I didn't have to push my car too hard to get those lap times," said Lopez. "In the race I was able to get by Tomy(Drissi) and Amy(Ruman) when Tomy's tire cut down. A few laps later I caught Ave and got by him. After that it was a pretty smooth sailing. I was just running a comfortable pace, anytime I would see Ave catching up I would put the hammer down a bit and get a little more distance."
Not only did Lopez notch his first career win, he accomplished the feat in his very first visit to any 'street course' type venue. "Running my first street race was really cool," stated Lopez. "Learning how the car reacts differently on the changing surfaces was pretty interesting. Mark Meissen, Ken Kelly and Mariano Guzman gave me a car that was really just a pleasure to drive. Right from the first practice session I knew we were going to have a good race car, it was just very neutral and would do pretty much anything I wanted it to."
"We're six events into the schedule of ten and thus far, I don't think the car has really missed a beat," commented Lopez. "Mark and the guys just keep preparing a quality ride for me. And that power under hood, what more can you say about ECR Engines than the way we powered around downtown Toronto."
For engine supplier and team associate ECR Engines, the Lopez victory marked the first time an ECR powered car has won in SCCA Trans-Am. "Congratulations to Lopesport Racing and R.J. Lopez for their first career win in the SCCA Trans-Am Series," said Richie Gilmore, general manager of ECR Engines. "R.J. has been knocking at the door all season so it was great to see him finally break through. The SCCA Trans-Am Series is a market ECR Engines has worked hard to tap into so it's very rewarding to be able to get our first win with R.J. and Lopesport Racing."
With four events remaining on the 2010 schedule, the win in Toronto solidifies Lopez's position as a championship threat, chasing current points leader Tony Ave both on the track and in the points standings. "This win has put us even more focused on the championship, we need to go out there and win some more races now. That's the only way we're going to catch Ave," reflected Lopez.
Appreciating the effort put forth by many this season, Lopez realizes it truly is a team effort. "I need to thank my dad and my sponsors Disco 106, and ECR engines that have been supplying us with great equipment all year and especially Danny Slack for the personal support he has provided us with at the track and from the shop. And to Goodyear Tires for their help and for providing the series with a great tire," said Lopez.
The SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series next event will be the Harrah's Grand Prix Presented by Mazda, at Autobahn Country Club on Sunday, August 1.