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.
Related PIR News
Race weekend entertainment for the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will feature a new spin on driver introductions as world-renowned DJ Michaelis applies his own flair, mixing all music related to the PIR “Like A Boss” marketing campaign.
What has Kevin Harvick done at Phoenix? Quite literally, a lot, and it’s being celebrated by JR Motorsports with a creative, new video at JRMRacing.com and by Phoenix International Raceway with a special ticket package for its March race weekend.
Two-time Olympian and current UFC star Dan Henderson will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car at the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15. Henderson’s appearance was the result of a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment. As the official pace car driver, the 44-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval.
Phoenix International Raceway was honored twice in recent weeks by NASCAR for outstanding work in the areas of marketing and community outreach. Earlier this year, PIR's 50th Anniversary was named NASCAR's Marketing Campaign of the Year and the PIR Track Services team received NASCAR's Track Services Teamwork Award; and today, PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez received NASCAR's Industry Ambassador Award.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet, is scheduled to appear at Phoenix International Raceway’s Budweiser ROLL-BAR Club for a moderated question and answer session before the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 15.