LATINO VOICES

Mexican Drivers Eye Route To NASCAR

SILVERSTONE, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 24:  Adrian Fernandez of Mexico, driver of the Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage
SILVERSTONE, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 24: Adrian Fernandez of Mexico, driver of the Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 during the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship - 6 Hours Of Silverstone near Northampton on August 24, 2012 in Silverstone, United Kingdom. (Photo by Drew Gibson/Getty Images)

NASCAR no longer stages a Nationwide Series race in Mexico, but a cultural shift from road racing to American-style oval competition is gradually taking place south of the U.S. border.

Rising young Mexican stars once looked to emulate national idols like the Rodriguez brothers (Ricardo and Pedro) in Formula One, or Adrian Fernandez in Indy cars. But these days, many of those aspiring racers set a career trajectory for NASCAR instead.

"In my days, NASCAR was probably nonexistent in Mexico," said Fernandez, who won 11 CART- and IRL-sanctioned Indy car races between 1996 and 2004 as well as the 2009 American Le Mans Series LMP2 championship.

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