Historic Mexico City event set for Sunday DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 1, 2005) -- The call to start the race may be in a different language, but the goal -- to win -- is universal. Instead of "Drivers, start your engines," the starting field in...
Historic Mexico City event set for Sunday
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 1, 2005) -- The call to start the race may be in a different language, but the goal -- to win -- is universal.
Instead of "Drivers, start your engines," the starting field in Sunday's NASCAR Busch Series Telcel MOTOROLA Mexico 200 presented by Banamex will hear "Pilotos, enciendan sus motores," signaling the start of the first points race held outside the United States for the series.
Drivers will be vying for a purse in excess of $2.3 million, second only to the awards at Daytona International Speedway.
The event has grown from its initial announcement last August 5 to an entry list of 50 drivers -- 10 from Mexico, including open-wheel star Adrian Fernandez (No. 5 Lowe's/Hitachi Power Tools Chevrolet). Drivers, teams, owners, sponsors, media and NASCAR officials and administrators numbering over 1,300 will be making the trip to Mexico City and the famed Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course for the event. Following the California race last week, more than 80 team and officials haulers staged in Laredo, Texas, and formed a convoy to Mexico City.
The excitement surrounding the race is evident in one of the world's largest cities where motorsports is a passion among a population that exceeds 20 million.
"Mexico has a long tradition in motorsports, and we are thrilled that NASCAR is now a part of it," NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France said. "This event provides our NASCAR Busch Series teams the opportunity to perform on an international stage. We look forward to providing this event for our growing Mexican fan base."
In addition to Fernandez and Michel Jourdain, Jr. (No. 10 Telcel Ford), the former Champ Car star who is now running the full NASCAR Busch Series season with ppc Racing, five fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers and two road course specialists with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup experience -- Boris Said (No. 1 Yellow Transportation Dodge) and Ron Fellows (No. 87 NEMCO Chevrolet) are also in the field to challenge the talented NASCAR Busch Series driver lineup.
"I really don't have much road course experience, but I think it is great that NASCAR put a road course race on the schedule," said reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet). "Everyone is going into this race a little on the blind side; none of the drivers have ever driven a stock car on this track, so it will be a level playing field. It is going to be a lot of fun."
Over 60,000 fans are expected to be in the grandstands for the 80-lap event that will cover just over 200 miles on the reconfigured 2.518-mile course -- the first road-course event for the NASCAR Busch Series since Watkins Glen in 2001. The series will return to The Glen once again in August.
"I'm really excited about getting to race in Mexico," said Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Havoline Dodge), one of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars who will forego an off-weekend in that series to compete in the inaugural event. "I really enjoy road racing and it's cool to be part of something that is ground-breaking."