ES: Mansfield: Rogelio Lopez race notes

Rogelio Lopez Rebounds From Accident To Finish Mansfield Fifteenth Mansfield, Ohio (August 25, 2007) - Rogelio Lopez was on his way to a good finish in the first race the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series ever held at the...

Rogelio Lopez Rebounds From Accident To Finish Mansfield Fifteenth

Mansfield, Ohio (August 25, 2007) - Rogelio Lopez was on his way to a good finish in the first race the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series ever held at the half-mile Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park but, just a few laps before halfway, he was taken out by another competitor and struck by a third. The Aguascalientes, Mexico driver was able to continue in the race, but could only muster a fifteenth-place with a damaged No. 03 Telmex/Lucas Oil Chevrolet.

While the Dave Davis Motorsports team did not test at Mansfield, they learned a lot in the first practice session and used that information to set the sixth-fastest time in the second session. Lopez was the second car out of for time trials, though, and that early draw led to a fifteenth-best starting position.

"A bunch of teams tested here a month ago, but we didn't, so we struggled in the first practice," he said. "In the second one we got better and the car has a real good balance. I think we'll be fast on the long runs in the race. We start fifteenth so we'll have to save some stuff for late in the race. There are some cars that are fast for two or three laps and then they fall off, and they'll have trouble staying low on the track and we can take advantage of that."

After an early caution, the race resumed with ten laps in the books and Lopez running in the top half of the field. Two more yellows later, the race was near its halfway point. But before it got there, Lopez got spun out by another car in the third turn. A third car could not avoid the accident scene and ran into Lopez' left rear corner.

Lopez was able to drive away from the accident scene but had to pit. While repairs were going on, he lost two laps to the leaders. Those laps were made up before the end of the race, but the damage to the car was too severe to overcome and he salvaged fifteenth out of the effort.

"It was pretty early in the race when I got run over," he said after the race. "That was disappointing for us because we had a strong car. After that we just had to run to the finish. The rear end must have moved around so it wasn't squared up, and the steering wheel was off as well. From there, we just had to ride around and stay out of trouble."

Lopez hopes to rebound when the Busch East Series runs its next race, which will be the second of two at New Hampshire International Speedway. He qualified fifth at that track in June.

"We're looking forward to going back to New Hampshire. We had a strong car there in June but ran into trouble early on. We've been testing there so I think we'll be real good," he said.

-credit: rl/ajc

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Rogelio Lopez