Lopez Schools Trans-Am Foes

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R.J. Lopez leads the SCCA Trans-Am Series field during the season opener for the series at Sebring (Fla.) Int'l Raceway Friday morning. (Mark Weber/SCCA Photo)
R.J. Lopez leads the SCCA Trans-Am Series field during the season opener for the series at Sebring (Fla.) Int'l Raceway Friday morning. (Mark Weber/SCCA Photo)

SEBRING, Fla. — R.J. Lopez started from the pole and drove away from the SCCA Trans-Am Series field during the season opener Friday morning at Sebring Int’l Raceway.

Driving the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette, Lopez swept the event by taking pole, setting the race’s fastest lap and leading every lap en route to his third career Trans-Am victory.

“It was pretty cool. We were able to dominate,” Lopez said. “It feels really great to win here. Sebring has always drawn a big Latin crowd, a lot of people from the Latin community. My dad used to race here in the ’80s and a lot of other people from the Dominican Republic, so to get a win here especially in my first time here, is really, really awesome. It means a lot to me. I’m just excited. I guess we’re leading the points again and we’ll see what we do from here.”

Cliff Eben drove his No. 36 Ford Mustang to a second place finish after driving by defending series champion Tony Ave on the third lap.

“It feels real good,” Ebben said. “Tony had a few problems, so it was my advantage. I just kind of stayed there. I was pretty sure I couldn’t catch R.J., so I just kind of ran at a comfortable pace, kept everything together and took what I got.”

Ave finished third, followed by Charles Wicht and Blaise Csida. Gregg Rodgers was the winner in the Trans-Am 2 class.