Mexico champ remembers his winning roots as he races in NASCAR truck series

There is not a whole lot in Charlotte, N.C., to remind German Quiroga of Mexico City.

Mexico City is where he grew up, and where his parents still live.

He doesn’t get home much anymore, but he can always remember one thing — he learned to drive race cars there, and he learned he can win.

Three times, he was the NASCAR Toyota Series champ, winning the Mexico stock car series from 2009-11. It’s something tangible he can hang on to.

But as he tries to make his way in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which comes to Texas Motor Speedway this week, he realizes it also does not mean that much.

“It’s part of my career,” he said Tuesday, getting ready for the WinStar World Casino 400 on Friday night. “I’m in another position now. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. For sure, that helped me to be here, but it is not everything, so I’ve got to keep learning. I’ve got to keep improving myself, keep proving myself here in the truck series.”

Quiroga, 33, who moved to Charlotte a year ago to be close to the world of American stock car racing, has a ways to go to prove himself.

He has only 12 starts, and his best finish is eighth at Talladega last October. In November, he came to TMS and finished 28th.

But he said Red Horse Racing is not treating him like a developmental driver. He said they are putting resources into his No. 77 Toyota team to take advantage of his winning history.

“They are treating me like an experienced driver,” he said. “They know we have the potential. We’ve been a three-time champion in Mexico. They know what I can do. They’re aware of what we can do together, and I appreciate them. I’m looking to start bringing some results.”

This week, Quiroga at least has the advantage of having raced at TMS once. Plus, he tested at the 1.5-mile oval this spring. Track time is as good as gold in any racing series.

“Already being on the track, having a test there, and now that I have more races with my team and more communication with my crew chief, I think it is one of the tracks that we can really turn around what we’ve done during this season,” he said. “I think this can really help us out and get us started making points and picking up some spots in the standings.”

Quiroga is 20th in the driver standings as the series comes to Fort Worth, 112 points behind the leader, Matt Crafton.

“It’s not the way we want it. But for sure, we’re looking for the Rookie of the Year award,” Quiroga said. “We still have time to come back for that. From this race on, we’re looking to make up as many points as we can each race and see how it goes at the end of the year.”

Rookie of the Year would be nice.

So would first Mexican driver to pick up a NASCAR national series victory.

“I’m proud of being from Mexico and to represent my country in the truck series,” he said. “I’m looking forward to winning the first checkered flag for Mexico in a national series. Hopefully, I can do that for my country.”