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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Phoenix International Raceway participated in the inaugural NASCAR West Coast Media day at the Peterson Automotive Museum in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. The event, which highlights the second season of back-to-back races at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana, featured NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. In addition to the upcoming 2016 season, the drivers as well as track presidents discussed the return of “NASCAR Goes West” including the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 13.
NASCAR star Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Great Clips Chevy SS for Hendrick Motorsports, attended Wednesday’s Phoenix Suns home game versus the Charlotte Hornets at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Kahne was in the Phoenix area to promote the start of the 2016 NASCAR season, the Daytona 500, and the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 13.
For people looking for that perfect gift for the race fan in their life, Phoenix International Raceway has extended its Black Friday and Cyber Monday special offers through the end of the week.