ROGELIO LOPEZ ACHIEVES CONSECUTIVE TOP-5 IN THE BUSCH EAST SERIES ELKO, Minnesota (May 18, 2007).- After an excellent performance this Friday night, Escuderia Telmex driver Rogelio Lopez achieved for the second time in a row a...
ROGELIO LOPEZ ACHIEVES CONSECUTIVE TOP-5 IN THE BUSCH EAST SERIES
ELKO, Minnesota (May 18, 2007).- After an excellent performance this Friday night, Escuderia Telmex driver Rogelio Lopez achieved for the second time in a row a Top-5 finish and improved the fifth place obtained in the season opener at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. This time, he was fourth in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race held at the 0.375-mile (0.603-Km.) Elko Speedway.
Rogelio was fifth fastest in the practice and afterwards he qualified 12 overall and was 11th fastest in the Busch East field with a lap of 14.287 seconds at 94.491 mph. since for the first time Busch East Series and West Series compete together in a historic point race. Previously the two series only met in the postseason NASCAR All-Star Showdown, which is an invitational race with the top ranked drivers in the aforementioned series.
"It is a second good result in a row for the team. I really want to thank my sponsors, Escuderia Telmex, Lucas Oil and all who did a great effort to have me here. I think step by step we yielded them for what they've done for us," said Lopez, who competes in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Regional Racing.
"It was a long race day and it is going to be a longer weekend with another race to be held. We were in the Top-5 in practice. Unfortunately, I was the first one to go out to qualify. There was rubber on the track from Late-Models which were there earlier and the track was a little bit hotter. This situation left us in the 12th spot," the Mexican said.
In the race, Lopez was running 10th on Lap 8 and stayed there for a while. Later a red flag was displayed and Rogelio restarted from the ninth place. The race featured a lot of accidents, but the Mexican avoided the incidents and regained consistently positions until reaching the seventh place. After several hot duels he managed to be up to fourth, where he stayed in spite of his efforts to overtake on the outside Mike David for the third place. However, after being hit Lopez decided to play safe not jeopardizing his position and maintained his fourth place to accumulate as much points as possible.
"We were gradually regaining positions, I had a hard time trying to take the upper line where the car was working better. We were patient. I think that some were desperate at the beginning of the race. We avoided all contacts and that was good because it gave us positions towards the end of the race," he said.
"We were practicing in the morning session the inside line and the outside line, but it was better on the outside. At the beginning in the restart it has difficult to accommodate in the best way possible. We were trying to overtake on the outside, where the car was really working better and we could get the third place, but there was a contact at the end. Then I've decided to maintain my position and not leave the Top-5," Lopez said and we was the best rookie of the race in the final results.
"We are now virtually in the (technical) inspection, the car finished in good conditions, even though there are some details to take care of because we had two or three small contacts out there. We have to travel tonight to Iowa. We have a good car, a good setting and if we keep working in this way, we will soon give the first Busch East Series victory of the year to our country, our sponsors and the team", he said.
Currently, Rogelio is heading the Rookie of the Year point standings with 19 points, followed by Joey Logano and Michelle Theriault with 15 points each. Diversity Program driver Jesus Hernandez is fourth and Jeffrey Earnhardt -from the Earnhardt dynasty rounded out the Top-5 with 11 point to his cause. This year 20 drivers are vying for the coveted award.
Also, Lopez is third in the championship standings with 320 points, trailing Bryon Chew (335) and points leader Sean Caisse (370), who also won the Minnesota 150 at Elko.
Motor racing fans can follow Rogelio Lopez and enjoy the Busch East Series on SPEED Channel Latin America: The race at the Iowa Speedway will be broadcast on Sunday, May 20 at 18:00 hrs. (Mexico City Time.)