QUALIFYING: Record Run For Pardo

QUALIFYING: Record Run For Pardo

Third Career Pole; Suárez On Front Row

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Rubén Pardo isn’t conceding anything.

Pardo used a record-setting time in NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series qualifying on Friday to knock Daniel Suárez from the top spot and earn a start from the pole position for the season-opening Toyota 120. The Mexico City-based driver got around the one-mile oval in 28.850 seconds for an average speed of 124.783 mph behind the wheel of his No. 15 Citizen/Potosinos Toyota.

Suárez, who is in search of his fourth straight NASCAR touring series victory, will start alongside Pardo on the front row after posting a qualifying time of 28.987 seconds (124.194 mph). Suárez won the 2013 Toyota Series finale last November and opened the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – the top rung on the NASCAR developmental ladder along with the K&N Pro Series West – season with a pair of wins earlier this month and was fastest in three of the four practice sessions for the Phoenix event.

Antonío Peréz was third on the chart with a time of 29.096 seconds (123.728 mph) followed by Rubén Garcia Jr. at 29.105 seconds (123.690 mph) and Hugo Oliveras with a time of 29.166 seconds (123.347 mph).

Rafael Martínez, defending series champion Rodrigo Peralta, Luis Felipe Montaño, defending race winner Abraham Calderón and Rogelio López rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.

The previous record of 29.485 seconds (121.387 mph) was established by Jorge Goeters a year ago in the series’ inaugural visit to the track. All told, 16 drivers eclipsed that mark this year.

It’s the second straight season for the Toyota Series to open its season on American soil in Phoenix. 

The Toyota 120 is set for a 7:12 p.m. green flag. Live Spanish-language television coverage of the race will be provided by mun2 in the U.S. and FOX Sports Latin America south of the border with both going on the air at 7 p.m.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Custer Finally Gets Phoenix Win

Custer Finally Gets Phoenix Win

Holds Off Newberry; Collects 1st K&N West Victory

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Cole Custer had the checkered flag in sight four months ago at Phoenix International Raceway, but had to wait until Thursday night to get the win.

Custer, 16, won the Talking Stick Resort 75, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener in the Arizona desert. The Ladera Ranch, Calif., driver started from the pole position and first had to deal with three-time Phoenix race winner Greg Pursley and then with a hard-charging Brennan Newberry on a green-white-checkered finish.

“We had a great car tonight. The guys at Bill McAnally Racing and Haas Automation have really put a lot of time in to get these cars better and better,” said Custer.

In the November 2013 K&N Pro Series West season finale, Custer had a dominant car in leading practice, winning the pole position and leading every lap in the race – except for one. Gray Gaulding used a bump-and-run move on the white-flag lap to claim the win and send Custer spinning to a sixth-place finish.

On this night, Custer led the first nine laps before succumbing to the pressure of Pursley and surrendering the lead. However, on Lap 28 Custer regained the lead from Pursley, who tangled with lapped traffic, and was able to drive his No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts/Haas Automation Chevrolet to victory from there. 

He built a lead of more than a second in the closing laps, but a late caution flag flew when Greg Rayl made contact with the Turn 4 wall on Lap 72 to set up the overtime finish, and was able to edge a persistent Newberry at the line by .376 seconds.

“We weren’t very good on the short runs and I had to do everything to hold (Newberry) off,” Custer said. “He stuck his nose in there, but I was able to stay in front. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing.”

It was a homecoming of sorts for Newberry, who hails from Bakersfield, Calif., and will compete fulltime this season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, as well as, in a dozen or so NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events.

“Phoenix is my favorite track,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of speed in the cars this year and came in with a lot of confidence. At the end, though, I wanted to race Cole clean, so we’re fine with second tonight.”

Sixteen-year-old Nick Drake, who competed in sprint cars on dirt last season, scored a third-place finish for Bill McAnally Racing in his K&N West debut after making his K&N Pro Series East debut at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Feb. 16.

“This was really just my third stock car race and to come to a big track like Phoenix and run in the top three is pretty incredible,” he said.

Pursley rebounded from the early trouble to finish fourth while two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion D.J. Kennington came home in the fifth position. Dylan Lupton, Giles Thornton, Brandon McReynolds, Brett Thompson and Taylor Cuzick completed the top-10 finishers on the night.

It was Custer’s first K&N West victory in just three starts. He collected a pair of K&N East wins last season in August at Iowa Speedway in Newton and in September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

“It’s huge to get wins in both series,” said Custer. “Not very many people can say they’ve done that.”

Earlier in the day, Custer won the 21 Means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Company Pole Award. It was his second in the K&N Pro Series West to match the two he has in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

Gaulding experienced engine problems in the early going and wasn’t able to mount a challenge.

The Talking Stick Resort 75 will be telecast by FOX Sports 1 on Friday, March 7 at 1 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West is in action next on Saturday, March 22 in the NAPA 150 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. It’s the first series race at the Southern California half-mile oval since July 2011.

RESULTS | LAP-BY-LAP RECAP | AUDIO: RACE-WINNER COLE CUSTER | AUDIO: RUNNER-UP BRENNAN NEWBERRY AND THIRD-PLACE NICK DRAKE

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Cole Custer celebrated his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win with a little smoke show on Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

QUALIFYING: Custer On A Quest

QUALIFYING: Custer On A Quest

In Search Of Win With 2nd Phoenix Pole

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – With his second straight 21 Means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Company Pole Award at Phoenix International Raceway, Cole Custer looks for the win he thought he had at the track about four months ago.

In qualifying for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West’s 2014 season-opening Talking Stick Resort 75 on Thursday, the 16-year-old from Ladera Ranch, Calif., won his second series-career pole position with a lap time of 27.369 seconds for an average speed of 131.536 mph on the one-mile oval in his No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts/Haas Automation Chevrolet.

In that November 2013 season finale, Custer earned a start from the pole and led every lap of the race except the last one after a nudge from eventual winner Gray Gaulding sent Custer spinning out of contention.

Starting alongside Custer on the front row will be three-time PIR winner Greg Pursley, who won the season opener at Phoenix a year ago. Pursley logged a qualifying time of 27.565 seconds (130.600 mph). With a win, the 2011 series champion will move into a tie with Ken Schrader for most series wins at the Arizona track.

David Mayhew, a March 2012 winner at PIR, was third-quickest in the session at 27.572 seconds (130.567 mph) while veteran Brett Thompson at 27.744 seconds (129.758 mph) and Gaulding with a time of 27.745 seconds (129.753 mph) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Kelly Admiraal and Nick Drake were sixth and seventh in the session followed by Brennan Newberry, Brandon McReynolds and Taylor Cuzick rounded out the top 10.

The Talking Stick Resort 75 is set to take the green flag just after 5 p.m. MT.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

PRACTICE: Pursley Out Front In Phoenix

PRACTICE: Pursley Out Front In Phoenix

Three-Time PIR Winner Looks To Repeat In Desert

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Defending Talking Stick Resort 75 winner Greg Pursley topped the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West final practice charts at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday as teams prepare for the season opener.

Pursley, the 2011 series champion, brought a Chevrolet to the one-mile oval this time as opposed to his familiar Ford and recorded a lap time of 27.406 seconds which translates to an average speed of 131.358 mph in the 60-minute final session.

The native of Newhall, Calif., who now resides in Parker, Ariz., is looking for his fourth career victory behind the wheel of his No. 26 Gene Price Motorsports/Star Nursery Chevrolet at PIR which would place him in a tie with Ken Schrader for the most series wins at the track. He has 18 series wins overall which is good for eighth on the all-time list.

Cole Custer, who dominated last season’s finale at Phoenix, but did not get the win after final-lap contact from Gray Gaulding, was second with a time of 27.445 seconds (131.171 mph). 

David Mayhew, a March 2012 winner at PIR, was third at 27.600 seconds (130.435 mph) followed by Brennan Newberry at 27.687 seconds (130.025 mph) and Gaulding at 27.715 seconds (129.894 mph) in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Kelly Admiraal, Brandon McReynolds, Brett Thompson, Nick Drake – another rookie – and Giles Thornton rounded out the top-10 performers in final practice.

Earlier in the first session of the day, Custer led the way followed by McReynolds, Admiraal, Pursley and Mayhew.

Two-lap qualifying is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. MT while the Talking Stick Resort 75 is set to take the green flag just after 5 p.m.

PRACTICE RESULTS

PRACTICE: Suarez Tops Speed Charts

PRACTICE: Suarez Tops Speed Charts

Looks To Continue Hot Streak In Arizona Desert

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Daniel Suarez topped the charts in the Wednesday’s final NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series practice at Phoenix International Raceway.

Suarez, from Monterrey, Mexico, scored a fast-lap time of 28.978 seconds which translates to an average speed of 124.232 mph on the one-mile oval. The 22-year-old NASCAR Next driver was nearly half a second quicker than the series track record of 29.485 seconds, set by Jorge Goeters in last year’s inaugural event. Suarez, who also runs full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with Rev Racing, enters the weekend looking to extend a three-race winning streak. He won the final Toyota Series event of the 2013 season in Mexico City, and opened up 2014 with two wins in two days at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and the short-track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.  

Ruben Pardo held down the second position with a time of 28.999 seconds (124.142 mph). Defending series champion Rodrigo Peralta, making his Phoenix debut, was third with a time of 29.004 seconds (124.121 mph), followed by Jose Luis Ramirez at 29.097 seconds (123.724 mph) and Enrique Contreras III at 29.182 secoonds (123.724 mph). 

Rafael Martinez, Ruben Garcia Jr., Rogelio Lopez, Hugo Oliveras and last year’s race winner Abraham Calderon rounded out the top-10 performers in the day’s final practice. 

Antonio Perez led the first practice session with a fast-lap of 28.961 seconds (124.305 mph), but did not take time during the final practice. He was followed by Suarez, Pardo, Oliveras and Ruben Garcia Jr. 

Homero Richards returned to the garage before recording a lap during the first session due to mechanical problems. He did not take time during the day’s final practice.  

The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series will be back on track on Thursday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. for another practice session. On Friday, series drivers will have final practice at 10 a.m., followed by qualifying at 1:40 p.m., with green flag for the Toyota 120 scheduled for 7:12 p.m. 

PRACTICE RESULTS

Whelen Euro Semifinal Set For Italy

Whelen Euro Semifinal Set For Italy

Autodromo dell’Umbria of Magione To Host September Event

BLOIS, France – NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and the Autodromo dell’Umbria of Magione signed a partnership that will bring all the thrill of american stock-car racing to Italy on September 20 and 21. Close racing on the track, amusement for the whole family in the paddock… NASCAR fans will enjoy an event entirely dedicated to “Made in USA” entertainment.

track-map-en-1600Italian fans are known to be among the most enthusiastic and passionate of the world and a lot of Italian teams and drivers take part in the official NASCAR series in Europe. It was therefore natural to choose Italy as the home of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Semi-Finals. Located in an ideal position in the heart of the Italian peninsula – near Rome and Florence, but easily reached from Milan, Turin or Naples – Magione is the ideal place to welcome fans coming from all over the country to discover the unique atmosphere on NASCAR races.

“For us here in America, Italy is synonymous with motor racing and passionate fans. That’s why we are very pleased to be bringing NASCAR racing to the heart of Italy and to the beautiful Autodromo dell Umbria in Magione,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR Vice President, Touring & Weekly Series. “With our great partners at the circui, NASCAR and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series look to make Magione the place to be for NASCAR fans and for NASCAR racing for years to come”.

“We are very happy to host the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Semi Finals and we are looking forward to create all sorts of attractions for the fans around the races. This is a long term commitment and we are building for the future,” said the Director of the Autodromo dell’Umbria Ezio Sisti, whose strong will to create something new in the Italian motorsports scene played a key role in creating this partnership. “Magione offers an interesting mix of fast and slow corners, a view on the whole track for the fans and an ideal geographical position, in a region of amazing beauty”.

The characteristics of the track, built as a true Roman arena, will guarantee exciting races. The 2,507 kilometers long circuit, consisting of 11 curves, allows spectators to see almost the entire track and not miss a single bit of the action on track. The show, however, will not be take place solely on the track, because the fans will find many attractions in the paddock, will be able to get close to the drivers and the cars, powered by mighty 400HP, 5.7 liters V8s.

“The Autodromo dell’Umbria will quickly become the place to be for fans looking for close and spectacular racing. Moreover, its location is ideal to welcome fans coming from all over Italy. The circuit and the whole region want this event to be a big success. It will be a pleasure for us to share our passion with the Italian fans,” said Jerome Galpin, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series President – CEO.

The Magione weekend will play a key role in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season, thanks to the doubled points awarded for the semi finals. More details about the event will be unveiled to the media in the coming weeks. This meeting will also provide a great opportunity to discover an area with many tourist attractions, thanks to its proximity to cities such as Assisi and Perugia, which allow tourists to enjoy beautiful sights and the flavors of the Italian cuisine.

NASCAR & OCESA Sign Landmark Extension

NASCAR & OCESA Sign Landmark Extension

Mexico Toyota Series Under NASCAR Banner Through 2023

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — For the past decade, NASCAR and OCESA have established the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series as the national championship for racing in the country.

Tuesday’s announcement establishes the framework for them to build upon that success.

NASCAR and CIE, the leading live entertainment company in Latin America and third biggest live entertainment promoter of the world, have reached a 10-year landmark agreement for the Mexico-based Toyota Series to continue to operate under the NASCAR banner through the 2023 season.

“This historic announcement represents the next step in the growth of the sport and the international impact NASCAR is making,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president of racing operations. “The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series continues to be a bridge that makes NASCAR more relevant to the Hispanic community in the U.S. Along with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series gives our sport a strong and unified presence across North America and Europe.”

The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series is the premier auto racing series in Mexico.  It traditionally runs a 15-race schedule, and for the second year in a row will kick off the season at Phoenix International Raceway. In another significant moment, Deportes Telemundo will air NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series’ Toyota 120 live on mun2, a first for NASCAR and the Mexico-based series.

“This extension symbolizes the strength of our relationship with NASCAR,” said Federico Alaman, managing director of the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series. “I’m very proud of how far the series has come since its inception and continuing to operate under the NASCAR banner for many years to come will reinforce the high level of competition and excitement the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series brings to every event.”

The 2014 season will mark the 11th overall for the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, which has been a NASCAR-sanctioned series since 2007. The inaugural year featured just one oval, while recent years have had just one or two road courses. This is emblematic of the shift the series has undergone under the NASCAR banner.

And the results are impressive.

Official sponsors have grown from 19 in 2007 to 37 last year, while the series averages 34 cars a race.

NASCAR Mexico is a partnership between NASCAR and OCESA that oversees marketing and licensing for the NASCAR and NASCAR Mexico brands in Mexico. Its marketing programs aim to increase interest in NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series events as well as NASCAR events in the U.S. that are televised in Mexico. It also seeks to attract corporate support of stock car racing from companies based in Mexico and throughout North America.

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Rodrigo Perralta, the 2013 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series champion, receives his NASCAR championship ring from NASCAR President Mike Helton at last year’s NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards in Charlotte. Getty Images for NASCAR

K&N West Statistical Advance: Phoenix

K&N West Statistical Advance: Phoenix

Analyzing The Talking Stick Resort 75

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West opens its 61st season at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday, Feb. 27 with the Talking Stick Resort 75. Below is a statistical look at the recent performance of the series and selected drivers at Phoenix, as well as some other statistical trends:

Phoenix Race Setup
• Just three past Phoenix winners – Gray Gaulding, David Mayhew and Greg Pursley – are on the Talking Stick Resort 75 entry list. Pursley leads active drivers with three wins and is tied for second with Richard Petty all-time at the Arizona track.
• Gaulding and Cole Custer will renew a rivalry established last November at PIR when Gaulding passed Custer for the win after a final-lap nudge.
• Eleven Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders are entered into the event with James Bickford and Nick Drake aiming to make their K&N Pro Series West debuts.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West At Phoenix
• The Talking Stick Resort 75 will be the 33rd stand-alone series race at Phoenix International Raceway. In addition, the series visited PIR for nine combination races with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 1988 to 1996.
• The Talking Stick Resort 75 will be telecast on a delayed basis by FOX Sports 1 on Friday, March 7 at 1 p.m. ET.
• Ken Schrader’s four victories heads the list for most series wins at Phoenix (2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006). With three wins each, two drivers are tied for second on that list – Richard Petty (1978, 1980 and 1981) and Greg Pursley (2010, 2011 and 2013). Two-time winner Scott Lynch (2003, 2004) is the only other driver with multiple series victories at PIR. 
• Pursley is tied with Mike Duncan for the most pole awards at PIR, with four each. Richard Petty won three poles at Phoenix. Others with more than one pole at PIR include Neil Bonnett and Scott Lynch, with two each.
• Pursley has the most top-five finishes in series action at Phoenix, with seven.
• Bill Schmitt holds the mark for the most top-10 finishes in the series at PIR, placing 10th or better in 12 of his 13 starts there followed by Austin Cameron with nine.
• Richard Petty holds the mark for leading the most laps (361) in series competition at Phoenix.
• Of drivers who have competed in four or more races at Phoenix, Neil Bonnett had the best average finish of 2.2 – making five starts between 1977 and 1982.
• Each of the last seven PIR races have ended at their advertised distance while six of the previous seven were extended for green-white-checkered finishes.
• With 21 starts, Brett Thompson has competed in the most NASCAR K&N Pro Series West stand-alone events at Phoenix. Jack Sellers has the most PIR starts overall – racing in 18 stand-alone events and five combination races.
• Among manufacturers, Chevrolet has the most wins in series action at PIR with 15 wins.
• Eight of the 32 series races at Phoenix were won by the pole winner, including this race a season ago. Three race winners started outside the top 10. Rich Woodland Jr. started the furthest back and won, coming from 21st on the grid in 1998.

EVENT INFORMATION

Phoenix Data
Race: #1 of 14 (2/27/14)
Track Layout: 1-mile, paved oval
Race Length: 75 laps (75 miles)

Phoenix Records
1-lap Qualifying: Greg Pursley, 26.876 seconds, 133.949 mph, March 2, 2013
75-Lap Race: To be established

Series Race Winners at Phoenix
Ken Schrader … 4
Richard Petty … 3
Greg Pursley … 3
Scott Lynch … 2
20 tied at … 1
(Bobby Allison, Ryan Blaney, Neil Bonnett, Jason Bowles, Austin Cameron, Mike David, Ron Eaton, Gray Gaulding, David Gilliland, Eric Holmes, Burney Lamar, Joey Logano, David Mayhew, Andrew Myers, Kevin Richards, Bill Schmitt, Michael Self, Rich Woodland Jr., Cale Yarborough, Mike Wallace)

Series Pole Winners at Phoenix
Mike Duncan … 4
Greg Pursley … 4
Richard Petty … 3
Neil Bonnett … 2
Scott Lynch … 2
16 tied at …. 1
(Jim Bown, Spencer Clark, Cale Conley, Cole Custer, Ron Eaton, Ryan Foster, David Gilliland, Kevin Harvick, David Mayhew, Andrew Myers, Brennan Newberry, Eric Norris, Steve Portenga, Mark Reed, Joe Ruttman, Mike Wallace)

Selected Driver Information:
James Bickford (No. 6 Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford)
• Attempting to make K&N West debut.
• Won 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model championship at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.
• Cousin of four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

Cole Custer (No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts/Haas Automation Chevrolet)
• Has a pole and one top-10 in two career K&N West starts.
• Has two wins, two poles and five top-five finishes in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition.
• Started from pole position and led 49 laps en route to a sixth-place finish last November in his only PIR start.

Taylor Cuzick (No. 42 Freightliner of Arizona Chevrolet)
• One top five, 11 top 10s in 25 career series starts.
• Best career series finish of fourth came in 2012 at Albuquerque.
• Best 2013 finish was sixth at Albuquerque and Monroe.
• Average finish in 2013 of 13.7. 
• Two top 10s in four series starts at Phoenix
• Best PIR finish of 10th accomplished in both 2013 events.
• Average finish at PIR of 17.5.

Gray Gaulding (No. 20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet)
• Has a win, one pole and two top 10s in three career K&N West starts.
• Has a pole, three top fives and 10 top 10s in 16 career K&N East starts.
• Won in November 2013 for best PIR finish in two starts.
• Became the youngest pole winner in NKNPS East history (15 years, 2 months, 15 days) in April 2013 at Richmond.
• Became the youngest race winner in NKNPS West history (15 years, 8 months, 30 days) in November 2013 at Phoenix International Raceway.
• Became the youngest pole winner in NKNPS West history (15 years, 8 months, 16 days) in October 2013 at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif.
• Is a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights young talent in the sport.

Carl Harr (No. 2 WestWorld Computers Chevrolet)
• One top five, 20 top 10s in 76 career series starts.
• Best career series finish of fifth came in August 2013 at Monroe.
• Average finish in 2013 of 15.5.
• One top 10 in 17 starts at Phoenix
• Best PIR finish of 10th in 2004
• Average finish at PIR of 20.6.

Daryl Harr (No. 71 iWorld Connect Chevrolet)
• Six top fives, 36 top 10s in 119 career series starts.
• Best career series finish of second, June 2013 at Lebanon.
• Average 2013 season finish this season of 12.7.
• Three top 10s in 20 starts at Phoenix.
• Best PIR finish of sixth was in 2010.
• Average finish at PIR of 16.6.

D.J. Kennington (No. 81 Northern Provisional Pipelines Dodge)
• Two-time champion in NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
• Three top 10s in five career series starts, all at Phoenix.
• Best career series finish of seventh, March 2013.
• Average finish at PIR of 12.8.

Dylan Lupton (No. 9 Vadio/Lupton Excavating/Sunrise Ford Ford)
• One win, four top fives, 12 top 10s in 18 career series starts.
• Was 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
• Picked up first series win in August 2013 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash.
• Average finish in 2013 of 8.7.
• Has three career PIR starts with a best finish of 14th in March 2013.
• Average finish at PIR of 26.3.

David Mayhew (No. 17 MMI/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet)
• Four wins, eight poles, 34 top fives and 52 top 10s in 72 career series starts.
• Has also competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
• Won 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model title at Kern County Raceway Park.
• One win, one pole, three top five and seven top 10s in 11 PIR starts.
• Phoenix victory was in March of 2012.
• Has led 213 laps at Phoenix.
• Average finish at PIR of 12.9.

Brandon McReynolds (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• One top five and two top 10s in two career K&N West starts, both at Phoenix.
• Competing fulltime in K&N West this season with Bill McAnally Racing.
• Three top fives and eight top 10s in 14 career K&N East starts.
• Best PIR finish of fifth came in November 2013.
• Average finish at PIR of 7.0.

Greg Pursley (No. 26 Gene Price Motorsports Chevrolet)
• 18 wins, 17 poles, 47 top fives, 62 top 10s in 85 career series starts.
• Won 2011 series championship.
• Led series with five wins a season ago; has 15 victories in last three seasons.
• Average 2013 finish 5.2.
• Three wins, four poles, seven top fives, eight top 10s in 11 PIR starts.
• Phoenix wins came in November 2010, February 2011 and March 2013.
• Has led 206 laps at Phoenix.
• Average finish at PIR of 7.9.

Brett Thompson (No. 61 RTTI/61 Logistics Chevrolet)
• One win, one pole, 23 top fives, 68 top 10s in 126 career series starts.
• Has made seven career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts.
• Three top fives, nine top 10s in series-leading 21 starts at Phoenix.
• Best PIR finish of fourth on two occasions, most recent in 2008.
• Has led 52 laps at PIR.
• Average finish at PIR of 14.5.

Giles Thornton (No. 12 TTC Racing Toyota)
• Three top fives, five top 10s in 14 career series starts.
• Best career finish of fourth, on two occasions in 2013 – Colorado and Spokane.
• Average finish in 2013 of 13.1. 
• Has made just one career start – November 2013 – at PIR.

Luis Tyrrell (No. 74 Team Tyrrell Chevrolet)
• One top five, three top 10s in five career series starts
• Best career series finish of fourth, at Stockton in May 2013.
• Has just one career Phoenix start.

Mexico Toyota Series Preview: Phoenix

Mexico Toyota Series Preview: Phoenix

Arizona Oval To Host ’14 Season Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series drivers had such a good time in their first trip to Phoenix last year that they decided to come back for 2014. 

The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, celebrating its eighth year under the NASCAR banner, will once again hold its season opener under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., as part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend. Defending series champion Rodrigo Peralta and 29 other drivers will make the trip north of the border, aiming to once again showcase Mexico’s top drivers to a U.S. audience. 

toyota_120_4c.jpgA mix of young guns and series veterans will compete in the 120-lap event around the one-mile oval, but perhaps none come to the Arizona desert hotter than Daniel Suarez. The 22-year-old Monterrey, Mexico, native closed out 2013 with a victory in the series finale at Mexico City. Suarez, who also runs full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for Rev Racing, opened 2014 in the same fashion, with a trip to Victory Lane in that series’ opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and two days later, Suarez won the UNOH Battle at the Beach on the temporary short track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next driver is aiming for four wins in a row on Friday night.  

The Toyota 120 is scheduled for a 7 p.m. MT start time. The race will be telecast nationally in the United States on the mun2 cable network and south-of-the-border coverage will be provided by FOX Sports Latin America.

ENTRY LIST, EVENT SCHEDULE AND OTHER EVENT INFORMATION

FAST FACTS
The Race: The Toyota 120 opens the 2014 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series championship season. It is the first of 14 oval track events and 15 races overall on the schedule. This is the series’ second visit to the desert oval and second consecutive season to open at Phoenix. 

The Procedure: The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining four starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 120 laps covering 120 miles.

The Track: PIR is a one-mile speedway with 11 degrees banking between Turns 1 and 2; 10 to 11 degrees banking at the apex of the dog-leg; and 9 degrees banking in Turns 3 and 4. This year marks the track’s 50th Anniversary season.

The Records: Jorge Goeters holds the track record at 29.485 seconds (121.387 mph) set on March 1, 2013. This is the first 120-lap event for the series at PIR.

PHOENIX RACE NOTES
Changing Lanes: It was an active off-season for the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series. Series veteran Homero Richards and 2011 rookie of the year Enrique Contreras III have left their previous teams and will make up the new AXTEL M Racing. Ruben Garcia Jr., the fourth-place-finisher in the championship standings last year, returns to HC Racing, the team where he captured his 2012 rookie of the year crown. Replacing him in the Team Canal’s ride will be Mario Dominguez. The international racing veteran will make his stock car debut in Phoenix in the No. 19 car, alongside returning veteran and former series champion Rafael Martinez. Jorge Goeters, the 2012 series champion, will join defending champ Rodrigo Peralta with the Tame Racing team.

Under The Lights: Friday night’s Toyota 120 will be just the fourth series event to be run at night. Tuxtla Gutiérrez hosted the first night race in 2010. In May 2012, Daniel Suarez won a night race in Mexico City. Last year’s opener in Phoenix was the only series race run under the lights in 2013. 

LAST TIME OUT: Mexico Finale 240
Eight drivers came into the race with championship hopes, but it was Peralta who emerged from the smoke with series crown. Suarez won the pole en route to his third series victory of the year, but was forced to settle for a runner-up finish in the season standings. 

NEXT TIME OUT: Mexico 240 at Mexico City
The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series will take a month off before heading to Mexico City for the second event on its 2014 calendar on April 5. Suarez won season finale at the one-mile oval at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez from the pole, his second career victory at the storied track. 

K&N Pro Series West News & Notes: Phoenix

K&N Pro Series West News & Notes: Phoenix

Lupton Placed Check Marks In All His Boxes In 2013

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year checked off each of his goals last season and starts on a new list as the 2014 season opens on Thursday in the Arizona desert. 

“I went into last season wanting to win rookie of the year, finish in the top five in points and win a race,” said Dylan Lupton.

The 20-year-old driver from Wilton, Calif., finished fifth in the final championship standings and collected his first victory in August at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., en route to outdistancing Giles Thornton for top-rookie honors on the circuit.

This year the goals are similar, but a little more difficult to achieve. Lupton has his sight set on winning multiple races and earning a series title beginning with the season-opening Talking Stick Resort 75 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.

tsr_75_4c-01.jpg“I think we have a good opportunity to win some races and get into the championship hunt, he,” he said.

With a full season of experience Lupton feels much better prepared for what is to come.

“I feel 100 percent more prepared than last year,” he stated. “The crew has worked really hard over the winter and we have a brand new car for the bigger tracks. We’ve done some testing and the cars are really fast. I think we’ll have a top-three or top-five car right out of the box every time out this season.”

In addition to his racing schedule Lupton is a fulltime student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte carrying a 3.5 grade point average, but his emphasis on school doesn’t end there. The business major has a planned program of school visits throughout the season with the message that young people can pursue their dreams while still preparing for and attending college.

“We did a pilot visit to a school last November before the Phoenix race and it was so well received that they invited us back this year,” Lupton said.

His No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford and hauler will visit Ingleside Middle School near Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday, the day after the PIR event.

“The schedule didn’t work out this time to do it before the race, but we hope to hand out some race tickets for the rest of the visits to get some people out for a great at-track experience,” he said.

In three previous Phoenix outings, Lupton’s best finish was a 14th-place showing in last year’s kick-off event, but he plans on changing that this time.

“Phoenix and I haven’t gotten along too well, so far,” he stated. “With the new car I think we’ll do much better and I can get some revenge on that place.”

ENTRY LIST, EVENT SCHEDULE AND OTHER EVENT INFORMATION

FAST FACTS
The Race:
The Talking Stick Resort 75 opens the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship season. It is the first of 12 oval track events and 14 races overall on the schedule. This is the series’ 42nd visit to the desert oval and 33rd standalone event at the track. It’s also the fourth consecutive season to open at Phoenix and the 11th overall.

The Procedure: The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining four starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 75 laps covering 75 miles.

The Track: PIR is a one-mile speedway with 11 degrees banking between Turns 1 and 2; 10 to 11 degrees banking at the apex of the dog-leg; and 9 degrees banking in Turns 3 and 4. This year marks the track’s 50th Anniversary season.

The Records: Greg Pursley holds the track record at 26.876 seconds (133.949 mph) set on March 2, 2013. This is the first 75-lap event for the series at PIR.

PHOENIX RACE NOTES
New Blood:
Eleven NASCAR K&N Pro Series West drivers will carry Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender designation into the Talking Stick Resort 75 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kelly Admiraal, Jack Chisholm, Rich DeLong III, Jason Fraser, Bill Kann, Jamie Krzysik, Griffin Steinfeld and Luis Tyrrell come into the race with some K&N West experience under their belts while James Bickford, Nick Drake and Rafael Vallina are looking to make their West Series debuts. Drake made a pair of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts earlier in the month and competes fulltime in that series. Vallina has made four K&N East starts and is a regular in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series. Bickford is making the move up the ladder after racing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.

Oh Canada: Fresh off men’s and women’s victories over their American counterparts in Olympic ice hockey competition, six Canadian drivers will migrate south to Phoenix to participate in the Talking Stick Resort 75. Carl and Daryl Harr are fixtures in the series while Kelly Admiraal, Jack Chisholm and Jamie Krzysik are relative newcomers. They are joined by two-time NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion D.J. Kennington. Admiraal, Krzysik and the Harrs hail from Alberta, Chisholm is from British Columbia and Kennington makes the journey from his home base in Ontario.

BMR Herd: Bill McAnally Racing, a two-time Phoenix winner, has four cars entered into the race. Brandon McReynolds will pilot the familiar No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota while Cole Custer and Drake are part of the new BMR K&N Pro Series East program and Kennington competes frequently in BMR equipment at selected events.

Conquering Heroes: Just three of the currently 28-entered drivers in the Talking Stick Resort 75 already know the way to Victory Lane at PIR. Gray Gaulding is the most recent winner having taken the checkered flag in last year’s season finale. David Mayhew picked up a win in the 2012 season opener. And past series champion Greg Pursley has three Phoenix victories to his credit including one in this event a season ago.

Unfinished Business: Cole Custer dominated in last season’s finale at Phoenix, but the 16-year-old didn’t leave with the winner’s trophy. The Ladera Ranch, Calif., driver had the fastest car in practice, went on to claim the 21 Means 21 presented by Coors Brewing Company Pole Award and led 49 of the race’s 50 laps. However, a nudge from Gaulding on the final lap sent Custer spinning out of contention and relegated him to a sixth-place finish.

LAST TIME OUT: Casino Arizona 50 at Phoenix International Raceway
Four drivers came into the race with championship hopes, but Derek Thorn used the inside track to claim his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship. Gray Gaulding used a final lap pass of pole sitter Cole Custer to earn his first win. Jesse Little and Cameron Hayley finished second and third, respectively. 

NEXT TIME OUT: NAPA 150 at Irwindale Speedway
For the first times since 2001, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West pays a visit to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway for the NAPA 150 on Saturday, March 22. It will mark the series’ 22nd race at the Southern California half-mile oval. Greg Pursley won the last Irwindale event followed by Derek Thorn, Dylan Kwasniewski and Eric Holmes – all K&N West champions.

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