CHIHUAHUA, Mexico — By John Tejada, NASCAR — Photo courtesy OCESA — Prior to the Chihuahua 240 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series event, Rubén Pardo said he felt like the .625-mile oval at El Dorado Speedway was like his home track.
He certainly raced like it on Sunday.
The Mexico City, Mexico, native survived four late-race restarts to win his second victory of the season in a green-white-checkered finish. It was the second career victory at El Dorado for Pardo, who won the series’ initial visit to the track in October 2012. In three career events, Pardo has two wins, three top fives and an average finishing position of 1.33.
“I think this is the best track in the country,” said Pardo during post-race interviews. “I always love racing here and I feel like this is a home track for me.”
Abraham Calderón crossed the line .328 seconds behind Pardo for his second runner-up finish of the season. He was followed by Patrick Goeters and his brother Jorge Goeters.
Rubén Rovelo, Freddy Tame Jr., Daniel Suárez, Antonio Pérez, Rubén Gracía Jr. and Rafael Martínez completed the top 10.
The race was dominated early by pole winner Irwin Vences who was looking to win back-to-back races from the pole position. On Lap 18, Vences began to lose speed, allowing Suárez to take the lead as Vences was forced down pit road.
Several drivers would battle for the top spot, including NASCAR Next driver Gracía Jr. who led the second-most laps at 55 behind Suárez’s race-leading 79. Pardo passed Gracía Jr. for the lead on Lap 203, but the two drivers would exchange the top spot several times over the next lap-and-a-half, with Pardo eventually holding off the young driver and the rest of the field for the remainder of the race.
The Chihuahua 240 marked the first event of the five race Desafio. Suárez takes a one-point lead over Pardo, 1051 to 1050, heading into the Potosina 200 at the Autódromo Potosino in San Luis Potosí on Sept. 21.