News & Media


Quiroga's move pays off in four-race KBM deal

July 19, 2012, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com

Early this year German Quiroga made the biggest move of his racing career, and it didn't involve trading one ride for another. It involved a relocation, swapping Mexico City for metro Charlotte, N.C., and leaving behind family, friends, and the racing series that made him a champion.

"It was very hard," said Quiroga, a three-time winner of the NASCAR Toyota Series, the sport's sanctioned circuit in Mexico. "I moved by myself, and I've been alone here. I didn't know anybody in Charlotte, so it was pretty tough. In the beginning there were some days when I didn't know what was going to happen."

"It was pretty tough to leave everything in my country -- not just the success I've been having in the series, but also my family, my friends, and my hometown, to move here and try to start from scratch."

--GERMAN QUIROGA

Quiroga made the move to pursue his dream of competing in NASCAR's national divisions, something he had a taste of last season when he started two Camping World Truck Series events for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Later this year brings the next step in that pursuit, when the 32-year-old will drive in four Truck Series events for KBM beginning Oct. 6 at Talladega. Quiroga will also pilot the No. 51 truck in the final three races of the season, at Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead-Miami.

"It's a perfect opportunity for me," he said. "I've been working pretty hard for the last year, trying to find sponsors to start here in the Truck Series with KBM. I know this is a very good team and I can learn a lot from Kyle and Kurt Busch. I really wanted to be here."

As evidenced by his relocation to Charlotte. Quiroga won three titles in the Mexico series, but after his most recent crown in 2011 gave up racing on that circuit to move to America and focus on putting a program together with KBM. The search for sponsorship has been a sometimes wearying process for Quiroga, who secured backing for his 2012 races from Net10, a mobile phone provider that is a division of Mexico City-based America Movil -- the parent company of Telcel, which backed his Mexican series car.

Quiroga and KBM sponsorship point man Butch Cox first met with Net10 executives in Miami in January. Originally there was hope of assembling a program to compete in the season opener at Daytona, but the deal didn't come together in time. The resulting agreement includes three races in key Hispanic markets, which will support NASCAR's larger Hispanic engagement efforts in those areas. Rick Ren, KBM's general manager, will serve as Quiroga's crew chief.

Quiroga has been the breakout star of NASCAR's nine-year-old Mexico circuit, clinching his last title before the final race of the season. Having accomplished everything he could south of the border, he visited the United States in 2011 looking for a foothold in the big leagues. An email to KBM led to a pair of starts last season in the Truck Series, one at New Hampshire and another at Homestead-Miami. This season Quiroga has been attending some Nationwide and truck races with KBM, trying to learn all he can. He hopes his four-race deal is a stepping stone toward potentially running the full series next year.

"I'm totally committed to racing the Truck Series with KBM," he said. "That's been my goal since last year, and I'm still working on it."

KBM officials are high on Quiroga's potential in NASCAR, which team owner Kyle Busch has called "limitless." Added Ren: "He's won three championships in a row. It doesn't matter what series you race in or where you race, if you've won three championships in a row, you know how to race." Proof of Quiroga's commitment: Since moving to Charlotte, he's had offers from the Mexico series to come back and race. He turned them all down, even when it wasn't clear if a sponsorship deal would come together.

"This year he has dedicated himself to giving everything he has to our Truck Series team," Ren said. "He's attended several Truck and Nationwide races the last few months, and I think he's learned a lot just by listening to Kyle, Kurt and Jason [Leffler], which has allowed him to get more accustomed to the terminology we use, as opposed to what he was used to in Mexico. You'll see a more comfortable German this year, and I'm confident that the results will be much improved."

For Quiroga, leaving home to pursue an unknown was a daunting prospect. Now, with a four-race deal in hand and the hope of more to come, the sacrifice seems worth it.

"It was pretty tough to leave everything in my country -- not just the success I've been having in the series, but also my family, my friends, and my hometown, to move here and try to start from scratch," he said. "We've been working hard to try and make this a reality, and finally it seems we're going in the right way. I'm pretty happy to have accomplished this first step."