The NASCAR Cup Series is heading to the LA Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash, and this year they won’t be racing alone. This year, the NASCAR Mexico Series will race preceding the Cup Series, so let’s take a look at the major differences between these two stock car championships.
The NASCAR Mexico Series is making a return to the United States, for the King Taco Battle in the Coliseum. The Mexico Series race, taking place before the Busch Light Clash, runs 150 laps around the quarter-mile short track. The Mexico Series has raced in the United States before, running a 75-lap race at Phoenix International Raceway in 2013. But what are the differences between the Cup Series racecars and the Mexico Series?
What is the NASCAR Mexico Series?
Founded in 2004 as Desafío Corona, a joint venture between NASCAR and promoter OCESA. The concept was to introduce stock car racing to Mexico which has a long history with open-wheel racing. In 2006, it was renamed the NASCAR Toyota Series, as Toyota bought the naming rights to the series.
When F1 revived the Mexican Grand Prix in 2015, the Mexico Series was forced into a hiatus, supposedly because of some of the supporters shifting support to F1. 2017 saw the return of the series with the new title sponsor PEAK Antifreeze, and PEAK would sponsor up until 2023 when the series became the NASCAR Mexico Series.
The Series races 13 races, six being oval tracks and several road courses used in different configurations. The smallest track visited is Super Óvalo Potosino at 0.8km or just under a 1/2 mile. The manufacturers that currently race in the series mirror the Cup Series; Chevy, Toyota, and Ford. Previously, Dodge and even Mazda have had cars in the series.
A few drivers have climbed the ranks from the Mexico Series into the NASCAR ranks. German Quiroga is a three-time champion in the Mexico Series, made nineteen starts in the Truck Series, and one Xfinity Start. Daniel Suarez, driver of the #99 Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing, has ten wins in the series. He will return to the series at the Coliseum. Driving the #99 Chevrolet with sponsor Quaker State, Suarez will make his 77th start in the Mexico Series.
NEWS: @QuakerState extends their partnership with The House!
— Trackhouse Racing (@TeamTrackhouse) January 16, 2024
NASCAR Gen 7 Cup Car:
The Gen 7 or ‘Next Gen’ Cup Car is the newest iteration of the NASCAR race car. Still utilizing a 358 cubic inch small block-based engine producing 670 horsepower. That is where the similarities end. The transmission has been moved to the rear of the car, and is a five-speed sequential, meaning the clutch is not used to up or down shift. The suspension is now fully independent, with both wheels having axle shafts coming off the transmission, unlike the previous generations’ solid rear axle.
All Next-Gen cars have an underbody-mounted aero setup. Air from the front of the car is directed under the floor of the vehicle, moving towards a rear diffuser. The diffuser creates downforce, allowing the car to have more grip on the track. All the cars feature carbon composite bodies, and no more metal fenders, allowing for contact without penalty of cut tires.
Next Gen’s have struggled at the short tracks, with drivers calling for changes to be made. NASCAR had an extensive test at Phoenix to test changes and has come to a solution they believe will improve the racing.
NASCAR Mexico Series Stock Car:
Unveiling in 2020, the Mexico Series ‘Next Gen’ is very similar to a late model here in the US. A small block, 350 cubic inch V8 mated to a manual, four-speed transmission. That transmission sends power to both rear wheels through a solid rear axle. The front bumper and decklid areas are similar to late models, but the cockpit area is much taller. The A, B, and C posts are more like those seen on the Xfinity Series cars.
I suspect the racing in the Mexico Series will be better than the Cup Series at the Coliseum. Based on how the Mexico Series car is much like a late model, with smaller tires and brakes, it is a tested setup that puts on great shows across North America. The Next Gen still has issues to sort out with its short-track package.
Catch the NASCAR Mexico Series racing at the LA Coliseum in the King Taco Battle in the Coliseum on February 4th at 4:30 PM Eastern on Fox.