CALDERON TAKES AMERICAN DEBUT OF NMTS
CALDERON TAKES AMERICAN DEBUT OF NASCAR MEXICO TOYOTA SERIES AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
The most famous words in motorsports--Pilotos, enciendan sus motores--were enthusiastically delivered by grand marshal Sergio Romo, relief pitching ace of the world champion San Francisco Giants, and with that the American debut of the NASCAR Mexico Series was launched at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday evening. Abraham Calderon won the Toyota 120 inaugural event, taking his first career victory.
"It is amazing," gushed Calderon in victory lane.
The race got off to a wild start in turn 1. Pole sitter Jorge Goeters, the 2012 series champion, slipped high on the start, and fourth-starting Jose Luis Ramirez tried to fill the hole. With cars going three-wide, Goeters and Ramirez spun. Ramirez got the worst of it, finishing 26th and last.
Calderon, who earlier in the day announced sponsorship from the World Baseball Classic to promote the appearance of the Mexico team against the U.S. in Phoenix next week, took off to a handy lead. The only other driver who seemed to have anything for Calderon was Homero Richards, who hung onto second place, about two seconds behind, until the mandatory break at lap 50.
After the intermission, Antonio Perez swooped low into second place and there was fierce racing for fourth through seventh places until another three-wide situation forced a wreck involving Hector Aguirre. Aguirre's Toyota damaged the safer barrier and brought out a red flag.
The subsequent restart on lap 66 saw Ruben Pardo dash into second, which he held until fading on the last lap.
The final results behind Calderon found Perez second, Ruben Garcia Jr. in third, Pardo fourth, and Richards fifth.
Saturday will see a doubleheader at PIR as the NASCAR Nationwide Series will start at 2:30 p.m. and drivers in the Talking Stick Resort 60 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will take the green flag at 5:30. Good seats are available for Saturday's races.
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Kevin Harvick did something Sunday that no driver had ever done in the 52-year history of Phoenix International Raceway. The 39-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif. scored a victory in his fourth consecutive race in the same professional series at the legendary one-mile oval in the Arizona desert, leading 224 of 312 laps to win the CampingWorld.com 500.
Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano put on a dominating display at Phoenix International Raceway in Saturday’s AXALTA Faster. Tougher. Brighter 200, the fourth race of 2015 in the NASCAR XFINITY series.
Ruben Pardo earned his first NASCAR Mexico Series win at Phoenix International Raceway in the Toyota 120 on Friday. After starting on the pole, Pardo fell as low as 12th but fought back to the front in the late stages.
Pop music sensation Tori Kelly will perform the national anthem prior to the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15, highlighting the pre-race festivities. Kelly’s performance will be included in the live national television broadcast of the race on FOX at 12:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. Eastern).
Phoenix International Raceway is encouraging fans to prepare for race day traffic by arriving early and enjoying the full NASCAR experience during the CampingWorld.com 500 event weekend, March 13-15. In addition to the CampingWorld.com 500 on Sunday, March 15 at 12:30 p.m. PST, the race weekend at PIR will include the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, March 14 at 1 p.m. PST and the Toyota 120 NASCAR Mexico Series race on Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m. PST.