Rogelio Lopez Spun Out Of Adirondack Speedway Top-Five Finish Beaver Falls, N.Y. (July 28, 2007) - Coming off his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series victory the week before at Nashville's Music City Motorplex, Rogelio Lopez...
Rogelio Lopez Spun Out Of Adirondack Speedway Top-Five Finish
Beaver Falls, N.Y. (July 28, 2007) - Coming off his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series victory the week before at Nashville's Music City Motorplex, Rogelio Lopez was aiming for a second straight win at Adirondack International Speedway in Beaver Falls, New York. While Lopez may not have been in contention for the win at Adirondack, he was on his way to a fifth-place finish when he was spun out coming to the white flag at the half-mile track, resulting in a disappointing fourteenth-place finish.
Driving the same No. 03 Telmex/Lucas Oil Chevrolet he used to win his first race, Lopez, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, took to the circular track for rain-delayed practice on Saturday to find its layout tricky. With Fred Skaff leading the Dave Davis Motorsports entry in the pits, they set up the car to take advantage of long runs for that night's 150-lap feature event. Lopez started the race from the seventh position, which was where he stood in points entering the event, as qualifying was rained out.
"The car has been real good today, and we only made a few changes through practice," he said. "We were concentrating on having a good car for the long runs. At the start I'd like to follow Sean Caisse and Bryon Chew because they're really good at this track, and I can learn from them. This is my first time here so I hope to pick up a lot from them. We have a really good car so we should have a good night here."
Lopez ran in the top-ten for the entire event. He spent most of the first half in sixth place, following eventual race winner Joey Logano, then passed him for fifth place after a lap 76 restart. He then set his sights on defending series champion Mike Olsen. He spent two laps inside of Olsen and won the spot, but that pass was negated when caution came out and the field was lined up for the restart in the order they completed the last green-flag lap before the yellow.
Lopez made another run at Olsen after the race returned to green on lap 118, completing that pass on lap 122. But when caution came out on lap 124, he was told to line up behind Olsen again.
"I don't know what happened because I was in front of him for two laps before caution came out, but NASCAR put him in front of me for the next restart. That happened twice, so I don't know how NASCAR scoring did that to me either time," he said after the race.
He successfully passed Olsen for fourth after the lap 130 restart, and was fourth for the final restart which came with nine laps to go. Falling to fifth, Lopez tried to bring his car home in that position but contact from another competitor sent him spinning low off turn four coming to take the white flag. No caution came out so he scrambled to get going again and crossed the line fourteenth.
After the race, the Aguascalientes, Mexico driver wanted to put it behind him as quickly as possible and think about the next race on the schedule.
"For our first time here, we were really good," he said. "At first we were saving tires, running pretty clean. I don't know what happened at the end, someone just ran us over. I've been racing pretty clean with these guys, so I don't know what the problem is. But for now we're going to concentrate on the next race."
That next race will be held on the road course at Lime Rock Park on August 18th. While Lopez has a strong road racing background, he downplayed that as his team has a lot of work to do before they can run that race.
"We're just finishing up a brand-new road course car, and we have to work hard to get that done in the next few weeks we have off," he said. "I like road racing, but I'm looking at it as just another race. We'll have a good car for that track, so I'm looking forward to having a good race there."
Lopez heads into Lime Rock's race eighth overall in series points and second in the Rookie of the Year standings.
-credit: Escuderia Telmex