Daniel Suarez wins NASCAR Mexico at Phoenix with last-lap pass

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A last-lap pass enabled NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver Daniel Suarez to take the checkered flag in tonight’s NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series’ 120-mile season-opener at Phoenix International Raceway.

Suarez had suffered a speeding penalty on pit road earlier in the race, but clawed his way to the front and pulled into second place with 20 laps to go.

After hounding Antonio Perez all the way to the white flag, Suarez got a run on the inside of Perez through the flat part of the PIR dogleg. Suarez was able to complete the pass into Turn 3 and then beat eventual runner-up Rodrigo Peralta to the stripe by less than a car length.

After hanging on for the win, Suarez stopped his car on the frontstretch, stepped onto the roof, and channeled his inner Kyle Busch by taking a bow for the fans.

Suarez has now claimed his fourth straight NASCAR touring win. He won the Toyota Series’ season finale in 2013 and then opened this year’s K&N East season with a pair of wins at New Smyrna (Fla.) and the Battle at the Beach at Daytona International Speedway.

The 22-year-old native of Monterrey, Mexico races for the RevRacing team in the K&N East series, which is the flagship team for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity project. He was named one of the NASCAR Next prospects for 2013-14 last year.

Perez, Luis Felipe Montano, and Ruben Pardo rounded out the Top 5 finishers. IndyCar Series veteran Mario Dominguez finished in 10th position.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.