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Oct 03, 2012 - 06:44 AM
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2012 Talladega: German Quiroga NASCAR Truck Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Oct 03, 2012 - 06:38 AM
2012 Talladega: German Quiroga NASCAR Truck Race Preview

After winning his third consecutive NASCAR Mexico Series championship in 2011, Germán Quiroga believed that he had accomplished all of his goals racing in his homeland and was ready to embark on a new journey. The 32-year-old driver, who had gotten a taste of American NASCAR at the end of the 2011 season, driving two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), packed his bags and moved to Charlotte in February, despite the fact that he did not have anything secured for the 2012 season.


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In July, after several months of patiently waiting for his chance to drive, the move paid off when KBM announced that prepaid wireless provider NET10 Wireless® had committed to sponsor Quiroga in a four-race schedule. The Mexico City native will make his first of four starts this weekend in the fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

"I've given my entire life to this opportunity and I have to thank NET10 Wireless and KBM for their trust in me," said Quiroga, a 16-time winner in the NASCAR Mexico Series. "We need to be a great team together and if we can have a successful four races, I'm hopeful that will lead to securing a full season for 2013."

Although he has been anxious to get behind the wheel of his No. 51 NET10 Wireless Tundra, Quiroga will have to display continued patience on the track to have a successful 2012 debut. A typical track in the NASCAR Mexico Series is about one mile in length, so the 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway will be like nothing he has ever seen before.

"My first goal is to finish," said Quiroga, who was approved to run superspeedway races in the Truck Series after competing in races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon - a one-mile oval- and Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway - a mile-and-a-half Tri-oval - last season. "If you want to win, first you have to finish the race. We were able to finish the two races last year -- and we did fairly well -- but I expected a little bit more. I am definitely looking to try and finish in the top 10 at Talladega and if I can take care of my truck until the end of the race, maybe a win can come to us."

The talented driver will be equipped with all the support necessary to be successful this weekend. He'll have Rick Ren - the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history - atop his pit box, Kurt Busch - the 2004 champion in NASCAR's premier division - as a teammate and Kyle Busch - winner of 105 races across NASCAR's top three divisions - as an owner. When push comes to shove at Talladega on Saturday, the steering wheel will be in Quiroga's hands and to 'net' a top-10 finish for his new sponsor, patience will be a virtue.

Germán Quiroga, Driver of the No. 51 NCWTS NET10 Wireless Tundra:

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for this race?
"I have never been to Talladega, so I'm going to be pretty surprised at everything I will see. I've been watching all the races on television -- and I've traveled to a few with KBM -- trying to learn as much as I can about the competition before I get there, so I can concentrate on learning the track. I know that it's a superspeedway with pretty fast speeds and the aero in the trucks will be very difficult to learn. I've been practicing pit stops with both the Truck Series and Nationwide Series team at KBM -- working on getting to the right spots when I make my pit movements during the race -- so that I don't mess up the race with a bad stop. I've also been training at the gym for almost a year now -- doing everything I know that I can do to help me during and after the race."

You've traveled to some Nationwide Series races with KBM this year. How has being around Kurt and Kyle helped you?
"It definitely has helped me to listen to Kyle and Kurt -- two very talented and experienced drivers. I've learned a lot -- the correct changes to make, how they manage tires during a period of laps and what their feedback is to the crew chief so that they can fix the car for the next set of tires. Also, to be able to listen to the communication that goes on between a driver and their spotter.

Last year I was used to listening to my spotter, but I wasn't used to hearing it in English -- so sometimes they talked a bit fast for me and I couldn't catch up until maybe a half-of-a-lap later. Now that I've heard the communication that goes on a lot more, I'm pretty sure that it won't be a problem. Having Kurt and Kyle around on Friday for practice is going to be very beneficial for me and I'm sure that they will be able to help me improve for the race."

Rick Ren, Crew Chief of the No. 51 NCWTS NET10 Wireless Tundra:

What's the best advice that you can offer to Germán about Talladega?
"He has been getting some good advice, I've talked to him and on Monday Kyle had a long conversation with him about how to work the brake and throttle at the same time, and how to stay attached to another truck if he does have to push someone.

When it comes down to it, all that is just talk, and he has to go out there and do it. The best advice I can offer him is to be patient. This is definitely a place where if you are trying to make something happen at the beginning of the race, you'll put yourself into a position that you don't need to be in. Everybody that goes into these speedway races knows that the last 15-18 laps you are maneuvering to put yourself in a position to be in the top five with two or three laps to go. During practice and early in the race, he needs to figure out what he needs to do to be running in the top five with about 15 laps to go."

What type of race do you expect to see on Saturday?
"I think that everyone will stay in a tight group and you won't see a bunch of pushing like you did last year. I think it is possible that you will see two or three truck breakaway, but it's hard to tell. You can plan how you think the race is going to play out there and it ends up playing out 180 degrees the other way. If it does come down to the pushing, I've talked to some teams that will work with us, but it will more than likely be them being the pusher and us being the pushee. Germán doesn't have any experience doing that, so people will be reluctant to work with him."

Germán Quiroga's No. 51 NET10 Wireless Tundra:

Chassis 59: The team will unload chassis 59, which is the same Tundra that Josh Richards drove to a 13th-place finish in last year's Coca-Cola 250 at Talladega. The only other start that the Toyota has made for KBM was in the season-opening race at Daytona in 2010, where Tayler Malsam qualified sixth and finished 17th.

Notes of Interest:

Germán Quiroga 2011:
• Made two NASCAR Camping World Series Truck Series starts for KBM in 2011, including a 16th-place finish in his series debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
• Captured his third consecutive NASCAR Mexico Series championship behind the strength of three wins, 11 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts
Germán Quiroga Career:
• Three-time NASCAR Mexico Series Champion (2009 - 2011); only driver in series history to win multiple championships
• Collected 16 wins, 52 top-five and 60 top-10 finishes over 70 starts after the Mexico Series became officially sanctioned by NASCAR in 2007
• Led 12 laps before being relegated to a 28th-place finish in his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in 2007 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico
• Posted runner-up finishes in the final NASCAR Mexico Series point standings in both 2007 and 2008
• 2005 Formula Renault 2000 Series Champion and Rookie of the Year
• 1999 Mustang Series Rookie of the Year
• 1998 Reto Neon Series Champion
• 1996 Reto Neon Series Rookie of the Year
Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 51 Toyota Tundra:
• Kyle Busch Motorsports' second entry will be making its first start of the 2012 season
• Josh Richards started 22nd and finished 13th in last year's event
• In 2011, the team posted four top-20 finishes over nine starts with three different drivers
• In 2011, registered a season-best finish of 13th with Josh Richards at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and a season-best qualifying effort of ninth with Richards at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.
• All three drivers to make a start for the team last season were champions in another series before making their Truck Series debut with KBM - Germán Quiroga (Three-Time NASCAR Mexico Series champion), Kimi Räikkönen (2007 Formula One Champion) and Josh Richards (Two-Time World of Outlaws Late Model champion)
• In 2010, Tayler Malsam posted five top-20 finishes in seven starts in the KBM second entry

NET10 Wireless onboard Quiroga's No. 51 Tundra for Four of the Final Five Races:
Three-time NASCAR Mexico Series champion Germán Quiroga will pilot the No. 51 Tundra, with primary sponsorship from NET10® Wireless, beginning this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and continuing with the final three stops on the 2012 schedule; Nov. 2 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Nov. 9 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway and Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. The No. 51 Tundra will also compete in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with a driver and sponsor to be announced at a later date.

Two Chances to Meet Quiroga at Talladega:
Fans will have two chances to meet Quiroga this weekend at Talladega. He will participate in the Truck Series autograph session, which will take place under the OV Hill South Grandstands, Friday from 2:15 - 3:00 p.m. CT. The three-time NASCAR Mexico Series champion will also be making an appearance at the NET10 Wireless display, located in the Dove Ridge Campground across the street from the main entrance, Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT.

The Ren File:
KBM General Manager Rick Ren, who with 27 victories is the winningest crew chief in Truck Series history, will be calling the shots for the No. 51 Tundra team over the final five races of the season. Ren's drivers have posted an average finish of 9.6 across five starts at Talladega, including one top-five and three top-10 finishes. The two-time Truck Series champion crew chief's best finish at the Alabama superspeedway was a runner-up finish with Ron Hornaday Jr. in the 2008 event.

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