SAN LUIS POTOSÍ, Mexico — By John Tejada, NASCAR — OCESA photo — Irwin Vences has chosen the right time in the 2014 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series Season to go on a hot streak.
The driver of the No. 46 Axtel/HP/M Racing Toyota got around Rafael Martínez on Lap 241 of the Potosina 200 from the Autódromo Potosino and held on for his third career victory, second of 2014. His first victory of the season came in the final event of the regular season and gave the Cuernavaca, Mexico, native a berth in the Desafio, the five-race playoff to decide the championship.
“I want to thank everyone, the team, the spotters, everyone involved in the team for giving me an opportunity to race,” said Vences. “I wasn’t able to run the first four races and I thank them for helping me live out this dream.”
Martínez, looking for his 20th career win and first of the season, looked poised to earn a victory in front of a sympathetic crowd. With nine laps left, Vences was able to get on the inside of the veteran and hold on for the win.
“Rafa ran great out there and it was tough to get buy him,” said Vences after the Potosina 200. “I congratulated him for a great race.”
Martínez was forced to settle for his his best finish of the season and fourth top-five of the year. He was followed by Rogelio López, Abraham Calderón and Patrick Goeters.
Antonio Pérez, Rubén Rovelo, Luis Felipe Montaño, Rubén Garcia Jr. and José Luis Ramírez rounded out the top 10.
Earlier in the day, NASCAR Next driver Garcia Jr. won his first pole of the season in Potosina 200 qualifying. Garcia Jr.’s lead was short-lived, however, as NASCAR Next alum Daniel Suárez was able to take the lead on the third lap. Rovelo would take the lead from Suárez on Lap 12 and held it until rain forced a red flag on Lap 75 of the 250 lap event.
Suárez, who entered the weekend as the points leader, was involved in an accident on Lap 151 that forced him down pit road for a few laps while his No. 3 Telcel team made repairs to the Toyota Camry. Last week’s winner Rubén Pardo was also involved in an accident that forced him down pit road. Both drivers finished outside the top 20.
For the first time since the beginning of the season the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series has a new points leader. Calderón takes over the top spot, occupied by Suárez since week 1, at 1082 points. Rovelo occupies the second spot at 1078, with Pardo (1078), Pérez (1074) and Suárez (1073) completing the top five.
The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series will next be in action on Oct. 4 in Aguascalientes for the third race of the Desafio.