Perseverance Pays Off for Lowe's Fernandez Racing at Lime Rock Lowe's Fernandez Racing rebounded from multiple issues in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix this afternoon to claim a second-place class finish and seventh-place overall ...
Perseverance Pays Off for Lowe's Fernandez Racing at Lime Rock
Lowe's Fernandez Racing rebounded from multiple issues in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix this afternoon to claim a second-place class finish and seventh-place overall result. This is the third consecutive year that misfortune has plagued the team on the challenging Lime Rock circuit, and the final outcome ended a four-race win streak for Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz.
Diaz made a great start from third place on the grid but his stint was hindered early on by handling issues on the #15 Lowe's Acura and he fell to third in class. His problems became further compounded by a gearbox problem which resulted in an early pit stop on Lap 41, 36 minutes into the race, where the team was able to make repairs and return to the track with Fernandez now on board.
It was not a trouble-free run for Fernandez who closed the race. Returning 11 laps down, Fernandez also battled handling issues and had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a tire puncture on the left front and a precautionary front body work change with 80 minutes remaining in the race. He brought the Lowe's machine home six laps down to the #20 Dyson Mazda of Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti who took the class win.
Lowe's Fernandez Racing will return to competition on August 8 with the Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio.
Adrian Fernandez, #15 Lowe's Acura ARX-01b: "This was our first mechanical problem of the year. I can't blame anybody. We have been very strong all year. Even with the problem we had we finished strong and never gave up and I think that speaks well about the team. When you are a few laps down, you try not to take chances and just stay away from trouble. I was following one of the GT cars quite closely and, unfortunately, he moved one of the tires into the chicane. I hit it with my left side and punctured the tire and had to come into the pits early. But for us, really, unless the Dyson guys had a problem, we couldn't get first place. The car had been very good all weekend but when you are not racing with the leaders, you just try to stay out of trouble and that is what we did. It is not the same. We weren't going to gain six laps. That was it.
"My congratulations to the Dyson team. It is nice for them to win at their home track. We picked up some points today towards the championship which is important. We didn't win but we still proved that we are a strong team and that we never give up. I would like to thank my guys, Lowe's and Acura for another great race. I am sure there will be more wins in our future."
Luis Diaz, #15 Lowe's Acura ARX-01b: "It was a tough race for us. We didn't have as consistent of a car in the race as we would have liked, but at least we finished. I was struggling with traffic more than the Dyson guys so we need to keep working. At least we were being smart and trying to get some points and that's a good thing. We were hoping that we would have a better car with older tires but that didn't happen. On the gearbox issue, it got stuck in sixth gear. We did all the procedures that we could to try to fix that on the race track but, unfortunately, it was not an electrical issue. It was a mechanical issue. I had to come in and we lost a lot of time there and we couldn't recover from that."