Showdown: Ruben Pardo - NASCAR spotlight

RUBEN PARDO LOOKS TO CARRY MOMENTUM TO TOYOTA ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2006) -- Fresh off his historic rookie season, Ruben Pardo will attempt to wrap up his 2006 racing year on a high note. Pardo, who drives for ...

RUBEN PARDO LOOKS TO CARRY MOMENTUM TO TOYOTA ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2006) -- Fresh off his historic rookie season, Ruben Pardo will attempt to wrap up his 2006 racing year on a high note. Pardo, who drives for FitzContreras Racing in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series, became the first international driver to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award in the series -- and first Hispanic driver to win rookie of the year in any NASCAR series. The Mexico City-native won the series' last race of the year at Lime Rock Park and finished eighth in the Busch East standings to secure a spot in this weekend's Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.

"Winning Lime Rock and the rookie of the year with FitzContreras Racing was extremely special to me," Pardo said. "Armando (Fitz) and Carlos (Contreras) put their trust in me and Paul (Wolfe) and the crew worked so hard all year on the cars. Family Dollar, Movida, SuperCuts and Goulds Pumps gave us the resources we needed and together they all made me a better driver each week so it was very much a team effort."

Pardo got his start with FitzContreras Racing in the Desafio Corona series in Mexico. Because of the talent he demonstrated in the first few races of the season, he was moved into the Busch East Series.

"This season was just meant to be," Fitz said. "We put everything together because we believed in each other and the program. We selected the driver who we thought would best fit what we were looking to accomplish. Carlos, Paul and the crew worked with him to bring him up to NASCAR speed, and, as a result, we win our first race, win Dodge's first race in the Busch East, the first race for the new spec engine and the first rookie title for any minority driver in NASCAR's history. It was a perfect ending to a supreme effort."

Pardo plans on returning to the Busch East Series next season with FitzContreras Racing. His team has elevated their goals next season because of their early success.

"The team is sticking with me and we have a new goal in mind - winning the drivers championship," Pardo said. "This year it was all about learning the cars and tracks because both were new to me, but I've won a few championships so I know what it takes. We were actually hitting that stride at the end of this year in Loudon, Dover and then with the win at Lime Rock. If I can stay clear of incidents and run our races, we should be able to contend each week and be in the championship mix at the end."

NASCAR will spotlight teams, tracks, sponsors and partners throughout the year for significant contributions and achievement in diversity. NASCAR will also be highlighting diverse drivers currently competing throughout the different levels of the sport.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Rubén Pardo