Rogelio Lopez Ends NASCAR Season With Thirteenth In Toyota All-Star Showdown Irwindale, Calif. (October 20, 2007) - After a rookie season of ups and downs, Rogelio Lopez and the Dave Davis Motorsports team experienced more of the same in the ...
Rogelio Lopez Ends NASCAR Season With Thirteenth In Toyota All-Star Showdown
Irwindale, Calif. (October 20, 2007) - After a rookie season of ups and downs, Rogelio Lopez and the Dave Davis Motorsports team experienced more of the same in the season's final race, the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. The event was held at the half-mile Irwindale Speedway, located just outside of Los Angeles, California and was broadcast live on SpeedTV. Lopez, from Aquascaliantes, Mexico, finished thirteenth after completing all 250 laps.
Lopez finished the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series seventh in points and second in the Rookie of the Year standings. The Showdown pitted the best of the East Series against the best of the NASCAR West Series in a 250-lap contest on a track renowned for its three- and four-wide racing. Lopez earned a guaranteed starting spot in the race when he won a Busch East race at the Music City Motorplex (Nashville, Tenn.) in July.
Lopez, seeing Irwindale Speedway for the first time, admitted to struggling in the two hour-long practice sessions on Friday. The Dave Davis Motorsports team, led by crew chief Fred Skaff, made a host of changes to the No. 03 Telmex/Lucas Oil Chevrolet before qualifying and sent Lopez out for his time trial attempt. He timed in sixteenth-fastest.
"We came to the track with a setup that we needed to work on, so we started out changing some things like springs and shocks," he said after qualifying. "We ended up pretty good, and we should have a pretty good car for the race's long runs. I expected more in qualifying but the car was tight so we'll have to make one more adjustment to the rear track bar and we'll be pretty good for the race.
"It's the longest race we've run this year so it'll be very important to keep our front fenders clean and be sure we have a complete car for the end of the race," Lopez continued.
Lopez completed the first hundred-lap segment of the 250-lap event in the twentieth position, struggling the the car's handling. The first of two ten-minute breaks came at lap 100 and he came to pit road for a host of adjustments, fresh tires, and gas. He resumed the race and found the changes to be good improvements to the car, finishing the second hundred-lap segment in fourteenth. Back on pit road for another tire change and chassis tweaks, Lopez was set to run the final fifty-lap leg.
"We were making huge changes during the pit stops," he said. "We worked with the shocks, the springs, the track bar, we basically tried everything we could think of."
When the final checkers of the night fell, Lopez was in thirteenth place.
"We've never been here before, so we struggled a little bit," he said. "We never really got the car right but we really worked hard trying different thing and making a lot of changes. We didn't get it, so this is one of those days that we have to learn from. We ended up thirteenth, which is a decent finish, but we're going to come back next year with the right car and the right setup. We have a long winter to work on the cars so we can start the next season strong."
Lopez thought his rookie season in the East Series went well.
"If you were to give me a grade, I think this year we were eight out of ten," he said. "We won a race, we got a pole, and we got five top-fives. We've been learning a lot of things this year so next year I think we're going to be real strong."