NASCAR

Mexico's Toyota Series at Phoenix

Daniel Suarez of Monterrey, Mexico is ready to drive during the NASCAR Drive For Diversity
Daniel Suarez is ready to compete at Phoenix this weekend.
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AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP)

The most popular motorsports series in Mexico will make its US debut Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Young drivers to watch

PAY ATTENTION

There's a new crop of contenders on their way up.

The Mexico-based Toyota Series will hold its season-opener at the track with a 75-lap race held after Sprint Cup Series qualifying. The series is running as a support race to the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the K&N West series at PIR this weekend.

The Mexico Toyota Series began in 2004 but moved under the NASCAR banner in 2007 and has been NASCAR-sanctioned since. Drivers run a 14-race schedule on eight different tracks in Mexican V8 stock cars. All but one event this season is on an oval track.

Among the featured drivers is Daniel Suarez, a 20-year-old out of Monterrey, Mexico, who is the championship favorite after finishing third in the standings last year. Suarez is part of NASCAR's Next9 initiative - a group of nine drivers who are under 21 and represent the next wave of young talent - and is on track to become the youngest champion in series history.

Also scheduled to compete Friday is 16-year-old Ruben Garcia Jr., who has joined the powerful Canels team after winning rookie of the year last season.

Defending series champion Jorge Goeters is with a new team after being replaced by Garcia on the Canels team. Antonio Perez, younger brother of Formula One driver Sergio Perez, is also scheduled to race.

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