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SAN LUIS POTOSÍ, Mexico – This time around, Rogelio López made sure he had enough gas left to seal the deal.
Two weeks after a miscalculation on fuel strategy caused him the victory in Monterrey, the all-time NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series wins leader earned his first checkered flag of 2014 during Sunday's Potosina 200 from the Autódromo Potosino. It was his first victory since September 9, 2012 in Puebla and his fifth in San Luis Potosí.
López took the lead on lap 172, using a strong inside move heading into turn three to get around the race leader Carlos Peralta. He survived four subsequent restarts and a strong attack from Antonio Pérez to capture his 22nd career victory.
Pérez was forced to settle for a runner-up finish, crossing the line 1.435 seconds behind the winner. The 2008 series champion has top-three finishes in each of his five Toyota Series events this year, including two runner-up performances.
Irwin Vences finished third, followed by Rubén Rovelo and Patrick Goeters. Rafael Martínez, Peralta, Enrique Contreras III, Abraham Calderón and Hugo Oliveras rounded out the top 10.
The race was slowed by nine cautions for 71 laps.
Pole winner Daniel Suárez dominated the first 102 laps of the Potosina 200. The NASCAR Next alum and current Drive for Diversity driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East seemed poised to capture his fourth series victory of the year until a penalty on pit road derailed his afternoon. Suárez was assessed a drive-through penalty for passing the pace car while entering pit road during the fifth caution. The penalty dropped the 22-year-old Monterrey, Mexico, native down to 22nd. Suárez worked his into position to get back on the lead lap, but contact with the No. 88 machine of current NASCAR Next driver Rubén Garcia, Jr. erased any possibility of another late-race comeback for Suárez. He finished 11th while Garcia Jr. fell to 26th.
With his fifth top-three finish, Pérez has inched seven points closer to Suárez in the championship standings 220 to 213. Rubén Pardo, Calderón and defending champion Rodrigo Peralta complete to the top five in the standings with five races left in the regular season.
The series next heads to Querétaro, Mexico, on May 25 for the sixth event of the 2014 calendar.