Rogelio Lopez Holds Off Logano For Nashville Win by Penny Aicardi
Mexican-Born Driver Gets Legendary Guitar
Rogelio Lopez will get to play some Mexican music on his new Nashville guitar.  (Mike Keon/NASCAR photos)
Rogelio Lopez hasn’t had the best of luck lately. The last three races have yielded a 17th-, a 43rd- and 26th-place finishes. The team, owned by Dave Davis, couldn’t help but feel dejected.

Enter Nashville’s Music City Motorplex.
Like every other race, Lopez and his Telmex race team, approached the Music City 150 presented by Coyote Ugly with optimism. They went out and set the 15th-fastest time in qualifying, but were still just a mid-pack car. They had a long way to go to get to the front.

But Lopez, the 2006 NASCAR Mexican Series Champion, persevered, and his efforts were rewarded with a career first Busch East Series win.

“I knew there were good cars behind me and I was trying to be really smooth with the car. By the end, you get kind of excited with the green,white, checker. As soon as you see the white, you want to look back and see where the cars are. As soon as I crossed the finish line I was like a bomb that explodes,” he said after the race. “This means a lot to me.”

Lopez steadily made his way to the front, and on a restart at lap 110, took the lead away from Jamie Hayes. Lopez relinquished that lead only once to Hayes for a single lap en route to his victory.

“He was pretty strong on the bottom,” Lopez said of Hayes. “I was right behind him before the caution came out and he was really, really strong. I was trying to race hard on the outside on the restart, and I think that paid back. I think he was too hard on his tires in the beginning.”

Current points leader Joey Logano tried, but failed, to knock Lopez from the point when he moved into second on lap 138.

“I knew I just had to work and, Logano, he is the points leader and he has a strong car. I was worried on the restarts about them, but I knew our car was really strong,” Lopez said.
Several teams stalled on the track during a lap 140 caution period when they began running out of fuel, and Logano, himself was worried his Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet would not make it.
“Rogelio’s car was real fast, but our car was real fast too. I thought I had something on the last restart, but once I got into fourth gear the motor started sputtering from being out of gas. Once we got in the corner, the gas sloshed over and it picked up,” Logano explained. “It was enough to finish the race. I think we got a good jump on him, but when we got into fourth gear it just died. My congratulations to Rogelio. It’s his first win, so I guess that’s pretty cool for him.”

Lopez is the second International driver to win in the Busch East Series over the last year. Ruben Pardo was the first with his victory at Lime Rock Park. Lopez is hoping the victory will put an end to the bad luck that has plagued the team over the last three races.
Lopez (#03) races to the outside of Jamie Hayes (#52) at Nashville.
“It hurt us on the championship in the past three races. We were doing pretty good in the beginning, and then we started struggling. We had to go to the backup car and rebuild the primary car. Now I think we are in pretty good shape. The luck came back to us I guess.”
Marc Davis finished fourth followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt, who posted his career best finish.

“I thought we had third locked up and I was trying my best to hold on to it,” explained Earnhardt. “We just got a bad push there on that very last lap coming off of four and I had to jump out of it. By the time I got back into it, Marc (Davis) had gotten on the inside of me. It was a good job by them guys: Joey Logano, and Rogelio Lopez. They ran a heck of a race.

Logano pulled ahead to a 147-point lead over Matt Kobyluck in the chase for the series crown. Mike Olsen, who entered the Music City 150 second in points, dropped to third when the rearend in his “Little Trees” Chevrolet broke and sent him into the wall.

“I don’t know exactly what happened. Something broke in the rearend, it locked it up, and ripped up a bunch of things: the driveshaft and the oil tank among things. It’s really frustrating because we had a good car.”

The Busch East Series will be back in action on Saturday, July 28th at Adirondack Speedway in upstate New York.

RACE RESULTS
NASHVILLE 150
MUSIC CITY MOTORPLEX SPEEDWAY (TN)

1. (15) Rogelio Lopez, Aquascalientes, Mexico, Chevrolet, 150 laps, 64.900 mph, $7,500.
2. (10) Joey Logano, Middletown, Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $3,750.
3. (7) Marc Davis, Mitchelville, Md., Chevrolet, 150, $2,950.
4. (6) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Mooresville, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $2,450.
5. (14) Bryon Chew, Mattituck, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150, $1,850.
6. (2) Jamie Hayes, Norlina, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $2,100.
7. (22) Jeff Anton, Russell, Mass., Chevrolet, 150, $1,400.
8. (5) Tim Andrews, Mooresville, NC, Chevrolet, 150, $1,300.
9. (21) Jerry Marquis, Broad Brook, Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $1,275.
10. (31) Richard Gould, North Brunswick, NJ, Chevrolet, 150, $2,175.
11. (11) Chase Austin, Eudora, Kan., Dodge, 150, $1,100.
12. (3) Matt Kobyluck, Uncasville, Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $1,075.
13. (18) Michelle Theriault, Bristol, Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $1,050.
14. (24) Max Dumarey, Gent, Belgium, Chevrolet, 150, $1,025.
15. (23) Nicholas Formosa, Nashville, Tenn., Chevrolet, 150, $950.
16. (9) Peyton Sellers, Danville, Va., Chevrolet, 149, $850.
17. (25) John Freeman, Huntersville, N.C., Dodge, 149, $827.
18. (1) Sean Caisse, Pelham, N.H., Chevrolet, 147, $2,300.
19. (16) John Salemi, Nashua, N.H., Chevrolet, 146, $800.
20. (8) Kevin Leicht, Arden, NC, Ford, 145, $800.
21. (20) Skip McCord, Nashville, Tenn., Chevrolet, 145, $800.
22. (29) Todd Peck, Glenville, Pa., Chevrolet, 144, $800.
23. (27) James Pritchard Jr., Wharton, NJ, Chevrolet, 143, $800.
24. (30) Scott Bouley, Wolcott, Conn., Chevrolet, 135, $800.
25. (26) Jonathan Smith, Beacon Falls, Conn., Chevrolet, 124, accident, $800.
26. (17) German Quiroga, Mexico City, Mex., Chevrolet, 78, oil line, $800.
27. (4) Ruben Pardo, Mexico City, Mex., Dodge, 72, accident, $800.
28. (19) Dion Ciccarelli, Severn, Md., Chevrolet, 71, rear end, $800.
29. (13) Jesus Hernandez, Fresno, Calif., Chevrolet, 28, oil line, $800.
30. (12) Mike Olsen, North Haverhill, N.H., Chevrolet, 23, accident, $1,300.



Sean Caisse grabbed another pole award.