After competing in the NASCAR FedEx Challenge in Mexico for the past three years, including winning the 2022 championship, Andres Perez de Lara has taken his talents to the United States.
He made his ARCA Menards Series debut in 2022 at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he finished an impressive seventh.
For 2023, Perez de Lara joined Rev Racing, the team that won the 2022 ARCA championship with Nick Sanchez as well as third-place finisher Rajah Caruth. While de Lara was underage to compete in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, he since took over the No. 2 Chevrolet, turned 18 and has climbed to third in the points after seven of the 20 races.
Prior to the ARCA event at Berlin Raceway, where he tied his career-best result of fourth, Perez de Lara sat down with Frontstretch ARCA editor Mark Kristl to talk about his love of racing, his adjustment from racing in Mexico to America and more.
Mark Kristl, Frontstretch: I read online that you got the racing bug from your father. But what made you fall in love with racing and want to race in the United States?
Andres Perez de Lara: The fact that my father used to be a racecar driver helped a lot. Just going to the racetrack for as long as I can remember has helped. Since I started racing cars, and NASCAR especially, I have just fallen in love with it and it has become a part of my life. So we are doing ARCA racing with NASCAR, [team owner] Max Siegel and NASCAR Drive for Diversity and I am getting better every time. And now we’re here.
Perez de Lara said the last sentence with a grin. The 18-year-old driver hails from Mexico but he genuinely loves racing in America with his Rev team, including teammate Lavar Scott, who fist-bumped de Lara right before the interview.
Kristl: How often does your dad come to your races? And does he call or talk to you afterward and offer critiques?
Perez de Lara: He comes to most of my races. Obviously, he lives in Mexico so it is hard for him to come to all of them. This is the first one of the season that he’s missing. It’s cool. He tries to stay away from correcting me a lot. He leaves me and my team to work. He’s always there supporting me.
Kristl: You’re from Mexico. Rev is based in the Charlotte area. How has that adjustment been?
Perez de Lara: It’s been a cool experience. I’ve especially learned a lot of stuff in this journey. It just gets me to better a better driver every time and the fact of being involved in racing almost every day. It’s just helped a lot in my career in almost every aspect of it and it’s amazing.
Kristl: What’s one of those things you have learned?
Perez de Lara: Obviously I’ve learned stuff about many things, but I think dedication [is one]. The more time you spend and the more effort you put in, the better results you’re going to get.
Kristl: I talked to you a little bit at the ARCA Menards Series East event at Flat Rock Speedway. Your English impressed me and I know learning a second language is not easy. How have you picked it up and adjusted so well?
Perez de Lara: English has been part of what I am learning here in the ARCA series. My English is really good, thank you. It is good enough for what I am doing right now and I’ve been learning it all my life. Especially talking to all the guys here in the shop, my crew chief and all the guys who have helped me along the way. I am still learning. There’s new stuff for me every day. My English was hard to learn at the beginning but now it is definitely not a barrier anymore.
Kristl: You’re doing well in the ARCA car. Every race you seem like you are getting more confident. How have you gotten up to speed so quickly?
Perez de Lara: The ARCA car is something different than what I am used to but running in the Mexico series obviously for a long time has helped. It is the first ever big car that I’m jumping into. But yes, there is so much different stuff here in America, especially the tracks. And the speed of the car is very different. Obviously, I think we’ve had a very good adaptation so far and coming to the first short track of the year is going to be good for me because it is something that I am more used to. Yes, it was hard, especially the speed and tracks, as I said, are the main differences. And learning how to communicate with my guys is another thing. Our season so far has been good and it is only getting better. That’s what’s exciting.
Kristl: Rev was quite successful last year with Sanchez winning the championship and Caruth did well, finishing third. Do you feel any pressure to keep building on that success?
Perez de Lara: Oh yes, there has been pressure. But I see it more as a motivation for how the team has been running and we are going in the right direction. As I said it’s been motivation so we are trying to keep working to do what they did last year and even improve upon it if we can. Obviously, it is going to be hard; it’s a good goal for my first full-time season in ARCA. We’re working hard to keep doing that well.
Kristl: Obviously Jesse Love has been running well, but the Rev No. 2 entry is battling for the owners’ championship too. Do you feel like you can still win both championships?
Perez de Lara: Anything can happen. We’re only five [now seven] races in and I am still getting more experience in the car which is helping a lot. So that’s important. The more laps I can get in this car is going to make me better. There are different types of tracks coming so we can be improving and fighting for it.
Kristl: And finally, what do you like to do outside of racing?
Perez de Lara: I like spending time with my family but racing this year has consumed most of my time. I always like to go to the Rev shop to spend time with those guys and be on the simulators. Outside of racing, I really like to spend time with my family and friends. I still live in Mexico and just come here for the races and spend some time here. Anytime I can be in Mexico, it’s fun for me.
About the author
Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.
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