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Lowe's Fernandez Racing Riding Momentum into Road America

Fresh off their fifth class win of the season, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz head to one of their favorite circuits on the 2009 calendar this weekend – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s scenic Road America. The longest road course on the schedule at just over four miles, Road America is a perennial driver favorite with its blend of long straights, fast and slow turns and plenty of elevation change.

 

With 13 career starts to his credit at Road America, Fernandez is still looking for his elusive first win. He made his first appearance at the circuit in 1993 in Champ Car competition, and has enjoyed considerable success with three podium results and seven top-six finishes over the years. Teammate Diaz has made three prior starts at Road America, notching a coveted win in 2002 while competing in the Atlantic series.

 

Fernandez and Diaz endured some misfortune in two prior ALMS starts at Road America, encountering a left rear suspension failure 30 minutes from the end of the race last year which knocked the pair out of contention for a podium finish. In their 2007 ALMS debut, a myriad of problems including an electrical glitch and stop-and-go penalty relegated the #15 Lowe’s Acura to the bottom of the results.

 

Four races remain on the 2009 ALMS schedule and, for Fernandez and Diaz, it is all about finishing races. The pair have a 51-point lead in the LMP2 championship standings, but to earn points you first must finish and that means completing 70 percent of the distance of the overall winning car to be eligible for points. A win this weekend earns 20 points with the upcoming longer races at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca awarding 30 and 25 points respectively.

 

Race Notes:

•Circuit – 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course

•Race length – 2 hours 45 minutes

•Driver changes – a driver may not drive more than two hours total in the race

 

Of Note:

•Fernandez has made 13 career starts at Road America dating back to 1993: two in the ALMS and 11 in Champ Car competition

•Fernandez’s record at Road America includes three podium finishes in Champ Car, the best a second-place result in 2000

•Diaz has made three career starts at Road America dating back to 2002: two in the ALMS and one in Atlantic competition which resulted in a victory

•In two previous ALMS starts at Road America, Fernandez and Diaz claimed their best result last year with a sixth-place class and eighth-place overall result

•With five class wins to date this season (Sebring, St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Salt Lake City and Mid-Ohio) and a second-place result at Lime Rock, Fernandez and Diaz currently lead the LMP2 standings by 51 points

•Lowe’s Fernandez Racing is currently second in the prototype category of the season-long Michelin® GREEN X® Challenge, which acknowledges competitors that demonstrate the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact

•In 29 ALMS starts to date, Fernandez and Diaz have claimed six class pole positions, five class wins and 11 podium finishes

 

Fernandez on Road America: “This is a drivers’ track and, by far, my favorite. There were six years between my Champ Car days and our starting in the ALMS when I didn’t race here and I really missed it. It has everything you would want in a road course and, as I have said before, it is a pure pleasure to drive in these cars. I have always wanted to win here and came close a few times but couldn’t get it done. We go into this weekend optimistic but realistic as well. Being down on top speed is going to be a factor here and, hopefully, we can work our magic with strategy like we did at Mid-Ohio to bring home another win.”

 

Diaz on the challenges this weekend:  “Set-up wise, I know we are going to have a great car. The car was perfect in the race last year – just fantastic on my stints – and it was a shame that the suspension failure happened and ended our day. We know it is going to be a tough race for us with the speed difference on the straights to the Mazdas and Porsche especially at this track, but we proved at Mid-Ohio that we can still get the job done. We are working for points and the championship. For me, Elkhart is special place because I won my second Atlantics race here and, to this day, that is still one of my favorite wins.”

 

Engineer John Ward on setup at Road America:  “Road America has long straights that tip the scales toward a low drag setup. This will be our lowest drag setup of the year and, consequently, our highest top speeds. This also means our lowest downforce level of the year. With less downforce, mechanical grip becomes even more important for the turns. We generally have good mechanical grip here with our package, so we tend to do well here.”

 


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