Guest Instructor - Jeff Lopez
Most of you know 35-year-old Jeff Lopez as the 2012 NHRA Super Gas World Champion. What many outside of NHRA’s South Central Division may not realize is that Lopez’s “overnight success” has been a lifetime in the making.
Jeff was born into a racing family. His father, Eli was one of the founding fathers of the Super Gas category and holds a national event title of his own in addition to a myriad of class and bracket wins. Jeff’s mother Karen raced throughout his youth in a Super Street machine of her own. His older brother, Robby earned a reputation as one of the best big dollar bracket racers in the country in the late 1980’s and after a long hiatus he’s back behind the wheel today. As a result, Jeff essentially grew up at the race track. When the time came, he embraced the chance to take the wheel himself.
Jeff & his father, Eli
Jeff’s driving career began in a street-driven pickup truck, and evolved into one of the Lopez family’s familiar Chevy II’s. With it, Lopez enjoyed countless wins, including several big buck bracket triumphs, and earned a plethora of track championships at facilities near his north Texas home, like Texas Raceway and Texas Motorplex (he’s won 9 track championships at Texas Motorplex alone).
Eventually, Lopez moved into a dragster for bracket competition, which allowed continued success. He achieved a lifelong dream in 2006 when he won the Super Pro title at the NHRA Division 4 E.T. Finals. That victory, in addition to several big buck wins that season, also earned him the title of NHRA Division 4 E.T. Driver of the year.
In the late 00’s, the Lopez family turned their attention back to the .90 scene, allowing Jeff his first opportunity to race outside of the bracket racing arena. He earned an IHRA Sportsnationals title in Quick Rod that season, and the team added the Super Gas Corvette that Jeff would eventually drive to championship glory.
In 2010, Lopez claimed the NHRA Division 4 Super Comp championship on the strength of one of his strongest seasons. Between NHRA, IHRA, and bracket competition, Lopez accumulated an incredible 20 event wins that season alone! Deservingly, he was voted NHRA Division 4 Super Comp Driver of the Year.
In 2011, he earned his first NHRA national event crown, a Super Comp title at the JEGS Sportsnationals in Belle Rose, LA. That set the tone for his incredible 2012 season. Lopez won the 2012 Super Gas World Championship on the strength of an incredible ledger that included 7 final round appearances (his only claim that was not a final round was a semi-final loss)! In fact, at the 13 events he attended in 2012, Lopez NEVER fell prior to round 3! In addition to the national title, Lopez also picked up the Division 4 Super Gas championship, and finished 10th in the NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp national title chase.
Jeff with his wife, Elizabeth, son Lucas, along with his father, Eli (far left) and father-in-law, Richard Brady (far right)
Lopez recently became a father, as he and wife Elizabeth welcomed their son, Lucas to the world in December. In his first appearances of 2013, Lopez lived up to the #1 displayed on his Super Gas Corvette with victories at the season-opening Lucas Oil Series events in Houston and Dallas.
The next generation of the racing Lopez family
ThisIsBracketRacing.com proudly welcomes Jeff Lopez to the TIBR team of all-star instructors!