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.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.