By Joseph Wolkin
Coming off a runner-up finish in the 2014 championship standings, Ruben Garcia Jr. was determined to win it all this season. The NASCAR Next member had been a mere nine points from beating Abraham Calderon in last year’s title fight, but this season belonged to Garcia.
Going winless in 2014, Garcia Jr. visited Victory Lane three times en route to the 2015 championship. Piloting his No. 88 Toyota, he was victorious at tracks in Chihuahua (twice) and Mexico City, giving him the advantage in the title hunt.
Garcia Jr. led the most laps, pacing the circuit 523 times. He ended the year with eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10 results. While neither of those led the series, it provided Garcia Jr. with stability as he finished 15th or worse only twice.
Holding off Ruben Rovelo, who also won three races, Garcia Jr., 20, captured his first title. The Mexico City native also made a splash in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, running three events for SR2 Motorsports with a best finish of 25th in his debut at Phoenix International Raceway.
PARDO WINS AT PHOENIX
Veteran wheelman Ruben Pardo entered the season in search of his first title. The 36-year-old had three NASCAR Mexico Series victories coming into the campaign, but had never finished better than third in the championship standings.
However, as the year began Pardo had plenty of confidence, especially entering the season-opener at Phoenix International Raceway. Leading 84 laps, he held off Luis Felipe Montano for the victory, which ended up being his only triumph of the year.
However, Pardo’s victory caught the attention of a few NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series teams. He ended up running two Camping World Truck Series events and made an XFINITY Series start at Phoenix late in the year.
NASCAR Mexico Series in Review
Champion: Ruben Garcia Jr.
Top Newcomer: Pepe Gonzalez
Best Race: RedCo 240 at Autodromo de Chiapas
Top Moment: Ruben Garcia Jr. winning at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.