NASCAR Mexico Series set to return with new title sponsor
NASCAR on Tuesday night unveiled a new sponsor for its Mexico Series, which has lain dormant this season.
NASCAR and Old World Industries have agreed to a multi-year agreement that will see the company’s Peak radiator and cooling system products brand become the title sponsor of its Mexico Series.
This season, Peak sponsored Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 Chevrolet, including primary sponsorship in two races and a season-long associate sponsorship. Peak is also the title sponsor of NASCAR’s eSports partner, iRacing.com.
The Mexico Series will return with an exhibition race Dec. 3 and 4 in Mexico City and a full schedule of events for the 2017 season, which will be announced at a later date.
“This was huge for us. When you look at the talent that is coming out of Mexico, we felt like we were just on the cusp of being really successful,” Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, told Motorsport.com.
“The success Daniel Suarez has been incredible but the goal for us has been not only drivers but engineers, car owners, crew members from all of Latin America. For us it was never an ‘if’ we were going to do this, but we were making sure we had all the pieces in place.”
The Mexico Series has helped develop some of NASCAR’s best young drivers, including current Xfinity Series star Daniel Suárez, who earlier this season became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race.
“I am lucky to have had the support of NASCAR’s developmental programs along the way – including the NASCAR Mexico Series,” Suarez said in a statement. He was on hand for the announcement Tuesday night in Mexico City.
“I am excited to see that other talented Latin American drivers will continue to have similar opportunities for many years to come.”
Ruben Garcia Jr. is the most recent champion of the Mexico Series (2015). The series did not hold any championship events in 2016 as it was without a title sponsor.
“We wanted to make sure we were with the right (sponsorship) partner long-term. We needed to be able to attract sponsorship, for sure,” O’Donnell said. “We also need to be sure the equipment we were running matched up to the future of where we wanted to take the competitors.
“You’re seeing right now where a competitor comes out of Mexico, then competes in the K&N West or East series and the ultimate goal was to be a champion in Mexico and possibly shoot straight into a national series. There’s still some work to do.”
O’Donnell said the initial reaction from teams and competitors who have previously competed in the series has been “very positive” and NASCAR’s announcement Tuesday night in Mexico City was well-attended by competitors and local media.
O’Donnell said the 2017 series schedule will likely focus only on events in Mexico. Before the series was shuttered this season, it had been holding one event each year at Phoenix International Raceway.
“It was great for exposure for the series but it was really a challenge budget-wise for the teams, so for us right now, we’re going to focus on getting it right here in Mexico and Latin America,” he said. “There are a number of terrific tracks being built and where we currently race.
“I would never rule it out for the future but it will be Mexico-based for next year.”
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