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World Baseball Classic sponsors car in NASCAR race

World Baseball Classic sponsors car in NASCAR race

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Less than one week before Team Mexico opens the 2013 World Baseball Classic in Phoenix, a baseball-themed car was on display Friday at Phoenix International Speedway.

World Baseball Classic Inc. sponsored a car in Friday's NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series race. The car, driven by Abraham Calderon, is a white Toyota Camry featuring the World Baseball Classic logo on the hood, with other smaller logos elsewhere. Red baseball stitches also begin on the hood and go to the side of the car.

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"It's an honor for me to drive the World Baseball Classic car," Calderon said. "I'm very excited, and this is my first time here. It's a great race, it's a great track and it's an honor for me, and we have a great chance to win this race."

Daniel Suarez, Calderon's teammate, also said he was happy to be associated with the No. 05 car.

"I'm really excited to be a part of this team, with the World Baseball Classic," Suarez said. "It's an honor for us to be part of this event."

While Calderon and Suarez showed their support for the World Baseball Classic and Team Mexico, Giants right-hander Sergio Romo did the same. Romo, who will pitch in the Classic for Team Mexico when it begins play next week at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, was the race's grand marshall and was scheduled to ride in the pace car.

Romo, whose father and mother were born in Mexico, often has spoken of his love for his Mexican heritage and how honored he is to be a part of Team Mexico.

"It's just a just a way to show legitimately how proud I am to have my Mexican heritage, and also to let them know that anything is possible," Romo said. "You can do big things in your life, no matter size, stature, color of skin, anything."

Romo also is a big racing fan, as he said he attended a handful of races while in San Francisco's Minor League system. At the Giants' morning workout Friday, he said he was beyond excited for the night's festivities.

"Caballeros, enciendan sus motores," said a laughing Romo, which means, "Gentlemen, start your engines."

"That's pretty dope for me," Romo added. "I feel like a little kid about it."

Calderon, who follows the Giants, said he's also anxious for the World Baseball Classic to start, especially for Mexico's opener against Team Italy at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

"The atmosphere is great, but I cheer for my home team, Mexico, and hopefully this year they beat Japan," Calderon said of the two-time champions. "It's great for us and I can't wait to see the first game with Italy."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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