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Before closing the book on 2011, let’s take a final look back at a few of the top moments for the NASCAR Mexico Series presented by Toyota.
It was a season that ended with a familiar face, but began with a pair of brothers getting fast starts. It was a season with tremendous competition, but a points race that ended rather abruptly. Also, it had a rookie with a strong pedigree and a streaky driver who dominated the summer months.
Three’s A Charm: Germán Quiroga has been a fixture atop the point standings in Mexico for the past five seasons. In 2011, he won his third consecutive series title after runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008. Quiroga is the only driver to win more than one NASCAR Mexico Series championship. In the process of outdistancing Homero Richards by 286 points in the final standings, Quiroga scored three wins with 11 top fives and 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts.
Five-Run Homer: Coming into 2011 with two career wins, Homero Richards made a hard charge to the top of the standings by winning four straight races from June 5 to Aug. 7. He added a fifth win in the season finale on Nov. 27 in Mexico City. Richards brought a strong car to the track each and every time in 2011 as he led a lap in 12 of the 14 events on the schedule.
In The Blood: Some of the greatest names in racing have involved multiple generations of a family. Enrique Contreras III, the series’ 2011 rookie of the year, is the grandson of Enrique Contreras Sr., who was part of the Mexican racing scene for 38 years, and the son of Enrique Contreras Jr., who was a multi-time champion in his days behind the wheel of a race car and currently serves as the series director for the NASCAR Mexico Series. Additionally, Carlos Contreras, an uncle, competes as a driver in the series and was the first Mexican-born driver to compete in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Goeters-ing It Done Early: Both Jorge and Patrick Goeters got out of the gate quickly in 2011. Patrick, the younger of the two brothers, won the season opener on the road course at Monterrey from the pole position while Jorge at Autódromo de Chiapas started from the pole and won the season’s fourth race. Jorge also won the second race of the season and won the pole in the third race. All told in the first four races of the season the Goeters brothers combined for three victories and three poles.
Best Laid Plans: Points leader Germán Quiroga carried a 180-point lead over Jorge Goeters into the penultimate race of the season which didn’t leave a great deal of hope for the other championship contenders – Goeters, Homero Richards and Rafael Martínez – but each vowed to go down swinging. However, when the green flag dropped at Nuevo Autódromo de Aguascalientes the fight didn’t last long. Goeters and Martínez got involved in early accidents while Richards battled mechanical issues. None of the three finished better than 28th in the 35-car field before Quiroga sped to his third victory of the season to clinch his third straight series title.
Cars, Cars, Cars: The maturation process of the NASCAR Mexico Series presented by Toyota was on full display in 2011. For the season, an average of over 37 cars was on hand for the 14 scheduled events. There were 40 entrants in each of the final two races of the season and a total of 12 rookies participated over the course of the year.
The 2012 schedule is expected to be finalized soon but the sixth season under the NASCAR banner should get underway in mid-March. Depending on Quiroga’s efforts to secure a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride, the championship could be completely up for grabs. In any event, the action south of the border will be hotter than ever in the coming year.