Road America: Fernandez Racing preview

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...

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 and at Mosport earns 20 points with the upcoming longer races at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca awarding 30 and 25 points respectively.

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."

-credit: fr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Luis Diaz