* Mexico's Rogelio Lopez Makes More NASCAR Diversity History With NHIS Bud Pole Win * Championship Contenders Kobyluck Second, Logano Sixth In 41-Car Starting Field * Aubuchon Hardware 125 Presented By Hardwarestore.com Could Ring-In New...
* Mexico's Rogelio Lopez Makes More NASCAR Diversity History With NHIS Bud Pole Win
* Championship Contenders Kobyluck Second, Logano Sixth In 41-Car Starting Field
* Aubuchon Hardware 125 Presented By Hardwarestore.com Could Ring-In New Titlist
LOUDON, NH - (Sept. 13, 2007) Rogelio Lopez of Aquascaliente, Mexico added to his history-making NASCAR Busch East Series season Thursday afternoon at New Hampshire International Speedway. Lopez, 27, driver of Dave Davis' No. 03 Telmex/Lucas Oil Chevrolet, became the first driver from Mexico to win a NASCAR regional racing Bud Pole Award. Lopez also became the first driver from Mexico to win a NASCAR Busch East Series short track race with a victory in Nashville, Tenn. in July.
The race for the 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series championship continued in Busch Pole Award qualifying for the second-to-last series race of 2007. Challenger Matt Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet) qualified second fastest, while 17-year-old series rookie Joey Logano (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet) qualified sixth fastest. Logano leads Kobyluck by 82 points heading into Friday's Aubuchon Hardware 125 presented by Hardwarestore.com on the 1.058-mile superspeedway.
Logano won June's New England 125 at NHIS, while Kobyluck finished sixth. In Friday's practice prior to qualifying, Logano discovered June's race-winning set-up just didn't feel the same, possibly due to the cooler fall temperature of not more than 70 degrees.
"We went out there with the same set up as June. It was completely different. We worked on it a little bit, I got a feel for it again, and we got it pretty close by the end of practice."
Kobyluck said he felt optimistic after qualifying, but he knows he needs to gain as many points as possible in Friday afternoon's 125-lap race.
"We need to get a top-five finish and to gain points we need to finish ahead of Joey," Kobyluck said. "We'll run as good as we can and just let everything play out. Joey runs good here. We don't have any control over what goes on with his day. We'll control our day as best we can and try to get a top-five finish."
Lopez is also optimistic entering Friday's race.
"The car is pretty strong and has good balance," Lopez said. "We were struggling a little in practice. We were loose coming of the corners, so we made a few changes between practice and time trials. I think we'll be good during the long (green flag) runs in the race."
Lopez qualified fifth fastest for June's event at NHIS, but he was the first to retire from the event with a small oil fire after only 15 laps. So he's paid attention to his friends' efforts on the track.
"I've been learning a lot from these guys, Matt, Joey and Sean (Caisse)," Lopez said. "I've been watching how they race, how they practice and how they do time trails. I've been learning a lot from them and I appreciate that."
Caisse (No. 44 Casella Waste Systems Chevrolet), who is third in series points, qualified third fastest followed by Bryon Chew (No. 99 Buzz Chew Auto Group Chevrolet), and Mark McFarland (No. 81 Knights Companies Chevrolet).
Completing the top-10 qualifiers in the 41-car field were Logano, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Ruben Pardo, Peyton Sellers, and Jesus Hernandez.
Friday's Aubuchon Hardware 125 presented by Hardwarestore.com takes the green flag at 5:10 p.m.