SATISFYING RUN IN THE DESERT FOR RJ LOPEZ Toole, Utah(June 9, 2010)- For RJ Lopez and the Lopesport Racing number 6 Disco 106/Goodyear/ECR Engines Chevrolet Corvette, round three of the SCCA Pro Trans-Am Series championship at Miller Motorsports...
SATISFYING RUN IN THE DESERT FOR RJ LOPEZ
Toole, Utah(June 9, 2010)- For RJ Lopez and the Lopesport Racing number 6 Disco 106/Goodyear/ECR Engines Chevrolet Corvette, round three of the SCCA Pro Trans-Am Series championship at Miller Motorsports Park proved to be a weekend of perseverance and consistency. Overcoming brake issues and utilizing team effort, Lopez earned yet another top three result by finishing third in the race. For Lopez, it was a matter of staying focused and appreciating the need to be there at the end to matter in the championship.
Acknowledging the success so far in 2010, said Lopez, "So far it's been quite a turn around from last year where we had two dnf's in our first three starts. For us to start the season with three straight podiums in the first three races is something we could only dream of before the season started. However, it is also something we did expect from all the hard work we've put in this year."
The weekend announced an early arrival of brake issues as Lopez discovered in practice. "As usual we unloaded with a pretty quick car," said Lopez. "However after the second practice we had a very serious brake caliper issue and the Lopesport team did an excellent job of temporarily fixing the problem without even missing a session. Not leaving anything to chance we sent for a new set of front calipers to arrive the next day."
After resolving the brake issues, the Lopesport Racing team, under the direction of Mark Meissen made a suspension setup change and tackled the task of qualifying. The end result was a third place spot on the grid.
For the 40 lap race, Lopez settled in for the duration, keeping his sights on the leaders. With plenty of ECR Engines power, maintaining the race pace was achievable. Said Lopez of his pursuit of the leaders, "During the race we just paced ourselves for the first ten or twelve laps. Then we started to get on it a bit and Drissi and I started moving up and catching Skeen and Ave. Drissi had a fight going on with Skeen for a few laps finally getting by him, and we followed by Skeen a couple laps later. Then Drissi and I were going after Ave, cutting his lead by half and sometimes a full second per lap."
Unfortunately, mechanical gremlins decided to play a part in the chase. "Unfortunately with about 12 laps to go I lost my brakes almost completely, thinking I just over-cooked them I began to slow down and use them much less," commented Lopez. "I obviously had to forget about chasing down Drissi and Ave. That is unfortunate as I really believe we had something for them. I just focused on finishing the race. We were able to salvage a third place finish with a severely hurt car, which resulted to be a broken right front spindle."
Even though Lopez's third place finish slips him to third in the points, one point behind second place Drissi and 25 points from points leader Tony Ave, Lopez remains confident. "I believe this was one of our better races because on a day where we had quite a bit go wrong with the car, we were still able to finish on the podium and stay in the top three in the points chase. So a gratifying weekend overall for Lopesport Racing," said Lopez. "The determination of everyone on the team to stay in the hunt for the championship is a strong. We'll head to Road America and continue in the battle."
Next up for RJ Lopez and the SCCA Pro Trans-Am Series is Road America, the weekend of June 18 through the 20th.