Corona México 200
|Venue||Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez|
|Sponsor||Corona / Banamex|
|Distance||201.44 miles (324.19 km)|
|Previous names||Telcel-Motorola 200 Presented by Banamex (2005-2006)
Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 (2007)
Corona Mexico 200 Presented by Banamex (2008)
The Corona México 200 presented by Banamex was a NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car race held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez road course in Mexico City, Mexico. The inaugural race was held in 2005 and the final race was held in 2008. The 2005 race marked the first time that NASCAR had run a Busch Series race on a road course since 2001, and at one time the Mexico City race was one of three road races on the Busch/Nationwide circuit (joining races at Watkins Glen and Montreal).
Much attention was directed towards this race, as it was the first NASCAR points-paying race outside the United States since 1952. The only recent international races for NASCAR had been those at the Suzuka Circuit and Twin Ring Motegi (1996–1998) in Japan, but the races were non-points-paying exhibition races. In 1952, NASCAR sanctioned points-paying races on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez track is a very popular track for open-wheel racing such as Formula One and Champ Car, however the course needed some work to make it suitable for stock cars. The most notable difference was a chicane on the pit straight, and also the addition of a link to eliminate Curva Hector Rebaque, instead adding a long, curve between the track's short circuit curve and Ese del Lago. This move was made because of the heavy braking of the heavier cars. Unlike the Champ Car race, however, the cars do not use the chicane at Peraltada. In 2007 the cars no longer used the frontstretch "Bus stop chicane".
2005 Telcel-Motorola 200
Tickets sales were good, and fans packed the track after the announcement that several local drivers would drive NASCAR entries normally driven by other drivers. Among them was open-wheel star Adrian Fernandez, Jorge Goeters, Mara Reyes (a female driver), Carlos Contreras, and Michel Jourdain, Jr. who had just moved to NASCAR from Champ Car.
Jorge Goeters won the pole position for the event, with a lap average speed of 103.366 mph. Goeters led the NASCAR field for the first twenty-four laps, but Martin Truex, Jr., then moved into the lead for several laps. The home crowd roared loudly when he was displaced by Mexico native Adrian Fernandez, who led for several laps before giving up the lead to Truex, who went on to win the race. Top Mexican native finisher was Fernandez, who finished tenth. Pole winner Jorge Goeters finished thirty-eighth after engine failure. Reyes finished thirty-fifth, Contreras thirty-sixth, and Jourdain thirty-seventh.
2006 Telcel-Motorola 200
Denny Hamlin took his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win, with an accomplished road course performance at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez. Series irregular Boris Said made another fine visit to take second place after providing Hamlin with his stiffest challenge. After his third top-five finish from six Busch starts, Said admitted: "We just got beat. Denny Hamlin's the real deal."
Kyle Busch had looked like a victory contender but angered the home crowd, when he hit local driver Michel Jourdain, Jr. following a rash move into turn eight. Jourdain was out on the spot, and Busch dropped down to seventh. Third place went to the points leader, Kevin Harvick, with J. J. Yeley in fourth and Paul Menard fifth.
2007 Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200
Juan Pablo Montoya took his first Nationwide Series win at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Defending race winner Denny Hamlin seemed to be the only one who could give the Colombia native a run for his money and settled for second.
The win was bittersweet for Juan and his Texaco team, as with only 9 laps to go, Montoya's teammate, Scott Pruett driving the #41 Juicy Fruit Dodge, attempted to block Montoya, who had fresher tires. As the two drove into turn one, Pruett moved down low, and Montoya didn't back off, spinning Pruett and forcing many drivers into the grass. Third went to road course ace Boris Said, in fourth was new points leader Carl Edwards (due to Kevin Harvick not being in the race), and Pruett would come back from the 17th position to round out the top five.
The collision with Pruett came at the climax of an impressive drive by Montoya. On his final scheduled pit stop at lap 44, a failure in the overflow valve in the refuelling system prevented his team from filling his fuel tank, requiring an additional stop on lap 54 to repair the problem and top off the fuel tank, with his returning to the track in 19th place. Montoya then took advantage of his having fresher tires than anyone else to move up to second place within fifteen laps, despite his advance being slowed by a number of full-course cautions, putting him in position to pass Pruett, leading to the incident mentioned above.
Both Pruett and Australian driver Marcos Ambrose gained at least ten positions in the final six laps, though details of their charges are harder to find, as the television coverage concentrated primarily on Montoya.
|Year||Date||Driver||Team||Manufacturer||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|2005||March 6||Martin Truex Jr.||Dale Earnhardt, Inc.||Chevrolet||80||201.44 (324.186)||2:58:49||67.591|
|2006||March 5||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Chevrolet||80||201.44 (324.186)||2:58:59||67.528|
|2007||March 4||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dodge||82*||206.476 (332.29)||2:45:15||74.969|
|2008||April 20||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||80||201.44 (324.186)||2:57:25||68.124|
- 2007: Race extended due to a Green-white-checker finish.
References and notes