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The 2012 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series season was thrilling for the fans and one of the most challenging for the drivers and teams. Jorge Goeters survived the rollercoaster ride to claim the championship while Daniel Suárez continued to grow and a few drivers re-established themselves.
Let’s take a quick look back at the 2012 season.
Second And First: The 2012 title was the second for Goeters, having claimed the top prize in 2005; but it was his first since the series came under the NASCAR umbrella in 2007. He took the points lead for good in the season’s penultimate race at Chihuahua and turned in a workman-like effort in the finale to collect the prize. The final margin of victory was 34 points over Homero Richards that was fueled by two wins and nine top-five finishes.
Parity Prevails: Competition remained tight all season long in Mexico. Five drivers – Goeters, Antonio Pérez, Richards, Rubén Rovelo and Suárez – all won two races on the year. Pérez notched his victories in the first half of the season while the others collected one early and one late. The other four wins were accounted for by Rogelio López, Rafael Martínez, Hugo Oliveras and Rubén Pardo.
Smashing Debut: The evolution of the Toyota Series over a relatively short time period has been amazing. It began in 2004 as primarily a road-course series. Now, oval tracks are the norm. Opening this year was El Dorado Speedway in Chihuahua, Mexico. The maiden event was held in October. Construction on the facility wasn’t quite complete, but the .625-mile, high-banked concrete racing surface was ready to go. An overflow crowd spilled into the venue to watch Pardo earn the inaugural victory.
Your Turn: For the second straight year, the Toyota Series Rookie of the Year is the product of a racing family. Rubén Garcia Jr. is following in the footsteps of his father en route to success in Mexico. Garcia scored a top-five finish in the season finale and claimed his first pole position in May at Puebla, Mexico before finishing 14th in the final point standings. A year ago, third-generation driver Enrique Contreras III was the top newcomer.
Rounding Into Shape: At just 20 years of age, Suárez is still coming into his own as a racecar driver. He took a big step forward on May 12 by winning his first Toyota Series race at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Not only was it his first victory, but the event was the first time the series competed under the lights in the Mexican capital. He followed with his second triumph on Aug. 12 at Querétaro. Suárez also competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and is a member of NASCAR’s Next9 initiative that targets young drivers with a bright future in the sport.
On The Rebound: Rubén Pardo, José Luis Ramírez and Rubén Rovelo returned to the forefront in 2012 after absences. Pardo with the historic win at Chihuahua returned to Victory Lane for the first time since September 2005. Ramírez claimed two pole positions this season. He last won the prime starting spot in 2010. Rovelo, meanwhile, was a two-time winner this year after not ringing the bell in 2011. He also won a pair of races during the 2010 season.
Strong Foundation: The NASCAR Toyota Series is on solid footing. For the year, the average number of cars on the entry list was more than 33 covering the 14 scheduled events. The high-water mark was 37 while the fewest number of cars to compete was 31. Additionally, nine rookies took to the track in 2012.
Looking Forward: The 2013 schedule has been announced with the opener set for March 1 at Phoenix International Raceway. It will be the first time one of NASCAR’s international series competes on U.S. soil. The 15-race schedule is highlighted by three night races. Including Phoenix, the April date at Mexico City and the May outing at Chihuahua will be under the lights.