Bad Racing Luck Continues To Haunt Rogelio Lopez Thompson, Conn. (July 14, 2007) - What started as a promising season for NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Rogelio Lopez has turned into a ...
Bad Racing Luck Continues To Haunt Rogelio Lopez
Thompson, Conn. (July 14, 2007) - What started as a promising season for NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Rogelio Lopez has turned into a struggle. It's not due to a lack of effort on the Dave Davis Motorsports' part, as his No. 03 Telmex/Lucas Oil Chevrolets have been fast at every track on the schedule. But racing luck has turned its back on Lopez as misfortunes have struck in each of the last three races. In the most recent race, Saturday's Pepsi 100 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, Lopez was on his way to the top ten when he got caught up in a track-blocking accident, forcing him to lose laps as repairs needed to be made to his car before he could continue. He finished 26th.
Heading into Thompson's race, Lopez was sixth in series points and second in the rookie chase. Throughout the two practice sessions he continued to pick up speed, winding up seventh-best in the second session. In qualifying, though, he was only seventeenth.
"We've having a good day and we'll have a good car for the race," the Mexican driver said before the race. "We kind of messed up in time trials, but we'll recover. Our car will be good for the long run once the sun goes down and track cools off. This race will be a sprint race, and we have a good setup so we'll be good in the long runs even if it wasn't that good for two laps in qualifying."
The Pepsi 100 was only nineteen laps old when the fifth- and sixth-place cars got together and spun across the track in the first turn. The track was blocked and many other cars could not avoid being involved in the wreck as well, Lopez included. With the nose of his Telmex Chevrolet damaged, he continued in the race, only to get collected in another incident when oil was dropped on the track.
"The first accident, there was a big one right in front of me. I don't know who spun but I was trying to avoid it but I got stuck over there. The car wasn't hurt that bad, but on the restart somebody blew a motor or put gear oil on the track and I spun around with another car. The suspension broke and I blew a tire so we had to come into the pits to fix the suspension and the tire."
Still running after the pair of incidents, Lopez next had to battle the car's overheating because of the damage to its nose, and he pitted under green for necessary repairs. Despite losing laps, he never gave up and soldiered on to the finish where he was scored 26th.
"It was one of those tough days that I want to forget about," he said. "We're already looking forward to the next race so we can try to get away from this bad luck that's following us."
Lopez' next race is at Nashville, Tennessee's Music City Motorplex, which will host the Busch East Series for a 150-lap contest on Sunday, July 22. Fans can watch that race live on HDNet television with the broadcast starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, or view an enhanced replay on Speed Channel at noon on Wednesday, August 15.