Some NASCAR teams worried about security as they made their first trip south of the border to Mexico City. They had reason for concern: Somebody stole the pole.
Mexico's Jorge Goeters thrilled hometown fans yesterday by topping qualifying for today's Telmex-
"It was really cool to see that guy get the pole, to see all the fans going crazy with the air horns going," said defending series champ Martin Truex Jr., who was third-fastest. "I don't think they'd have done that for me."
It also was good news for NASCAR, adding to local interest in a race that it hopes will help build an enduring relationship with fans in Mexico and with Hispanic fans in the United States as well.
"As far as Busch qualifying, I don't think we've ever had this many people at the track," Truex said, though officials did not have a count of the crowd yesterday.
Goeters called it "the happiest day of my life" after his No. 66 Ford bumped Gordon to second on the 2.518-mile road course.
"I can't tell you what this event means for me and for my country. I've always dreams of running in NASCAR," Goeters said. "I didn't even know it was a good lap until my team told me. `You did it! You're the leader!' "
It got even happier later. Goeters started on the pole in the afternoon's Corona Challenge race and finished second to brother Patrick.
The two leaped atop Patrick Goeters's car and embraced after the race, part of what NASCAR hopes will become a local development series. Road course specialists Boris Said and Ron Fellows qualified fourth and fifth, following by series points leader Kevin Harvick.
Indy Racing League -- Tomas Scheckter put Panther Racing out front, easily winning the pole for the season-opening
Rolex Series -- Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli raced to their second consecutive Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, winning the Grand Prix of Miami by 1.198 seconds.