MEXICO CITY, Mexico – It’s fitting that a race with nine lead changes finish with an exciting photo finish. Héctor Aguirre edged out pole winner Antonio Pérez for his first career NASCAR Toyota Series victory on Sunday, passing the leader just before the finish line at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.
Aguirre, driver of the No. 29 Grupo GAMA – H & H Toyota, trailed Pérez going into turn four of the final lap. The two drivers traded paint down the front stretch with Aguirre narrowly beating Pérez for a .4 second margin of victory. Aguirre led 34 of the first 62 laps before briefly recapturing the lead from Pérez on lap 127. He wouldn’t lead the race again until the final stretch of the final lap.
Aguirre opened the season in 25th place after an accident knocked him out with 15 laps to go at Phoenix International Raceway. He didn’t fare much better in his second race after a mechanical problem forced him to withdraw with 70 laps remaining at San Luis Potosí. In his 16th career Toyota Series race, Aguirre stayed in the Top 10 for most the race before overtaking Perez in the final lap for the win.
After winning the pole on Saturday, Pérez started the race from the rear after failing to attend the driver’s meeting. He worked his way into the Top 10 before capturing the lead on lap 85. Pérez would lead for 62 of the final 65 laps before giving up the lead to Aguirre. It’s Pérez’s third Top 5 of the season and 37th for his career.
Phoenix winner Abraham Calderón finished third while Luis Felipe Montaño crossed the line in fourth place. José Luis Ramirez recorded his 10th career top-five finish with a fifth-place effort. Daniel Suárez, Rodrigo Perlata, Rubén Pardo, Ruben Garcia Jr., and Rubén Rovelo completed the top 10.
Suárez recorded his second Top 10 finish of the weekend. After finishing seventh in the K&N East Whitaker Chevy 150 at Greenville, S.C. on Saturday, Suárez travelled over night to Mexico City, arriving shortly before the green flag. He started from the 33rd position of the field due to missing Saturday’s qualifying and jumped up 26 spots to record his 14th career Toyota Series Top 10.
Homero Richards entered the day in the points lead and was running third with 21 laps to go when an accident ended his day. He finished in 29th and fell to fifth place in the overall points standings. After his Top 5 finish, Pérez now holds a nine point lead over Pardo in the championship standings, followed by Garcia Jr. and Suárez.