February 28, 2014 — By Shon Sbarra, NASCAR — Getty Images for NASCAR photo — AVONDALE, Ariz. – Rubén Pardo isn’t conceding anything.
Pardo used a record-setting time in NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series qualifying on Friday to knock Daniel Suárez from the top spot and earn a start from the pole position for the season-opening Toyota 120. The Mexico City-based driver got around the one-mile oval in 28.850 seconds for an average speed of 124.783 mph behind the wheel of his No. 15 Citizen/Potosinos Toyota.
Suárez, who is in search of his fourth straight NASCAR touring series victory, will start alongside Pardo on the front row after posting a qualifying time of 28.987 seconds (124.194 mph). Suárez won the 2013 Toyota Series finale last November and opened the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – the top rung on the NASCAR developmental ladder along with the K&N Pro Series West – season with a pair of wins earlier this month and was fastest in three of the four practice sessions for the Phoenix event.
Antonío Peréz was third on the chart with a time of 29.096 seconds (123.728 mph) followed by Rubén Garcia Jr. at 29.105 seconds (123.690 mph) and Hugo Oliveras with a time of 29.166 seconds (123.347 mph).
Rafael Martínez, defending series champion Rodrigo Peralta, Luis Felipe Montaño, defending race winner Abraham Calderón and Rogelio López rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.
The previous record of 29.485 seconds (121.387 mph) was established by Jorge Goeters a year ago in the series’ inaugural visit to the track. All told, 16 drivers eclipsed that mark this year.
It’s the second straight season for the Toyota Series to open its season on American soil in Phoenix.
The Toyota 120 is set for a 7:12 p.m. green flag. Live Spanish-language television coverage of the race will be provided by mun2 in the U.S. and FOX Sports Latin America south of the border with both going on the air at 7 p.m.