Lowe's Fernandez Racing Takes Road America Win Lowe's Fernandez Racing claimed their sixth class win of the season and a third-place overall result this afternoon in the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Takes Road America Win
Lowe's Fernandez Racing claimed their sixth class win of the season and a third-place overall result this afternoon in the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series at Road America. It was an eventful race that came down to a seven-minute shootout at the end with Adrian Fernandez holding off the #20 Dyson Mazda of Butch Leitzinger to take the victory.
Luis Diaz started the race and did a sensational job to keep in touch with the Mazda squad while setting the fastest LMP2 lap leading into the first round of pit stops. Diaz, who was shown as the P2 leader as pit stops cycled through, turned the driving duties over to Fernandez on Lap 30 [one hour and four minutes into the race]. Fernandez emerged third overall and first in class.
Fernandez managed to pull away and enjoy a comfortable margin over the #20 car, extending his lead to 20 seconds before a caution came out on Lap 53. Both Fernandez and Leitzinger pitted on Lap 55 but the #15 Lowe's Acura crew elected to take fuel only and double-stint their Michelin tires. The decision put Fernandez out ahead of not only the #20 car but the two P1 Acura's as well. The restart on Lap 56 returned Fernandez to third overall behind the P1s, but he managed to maintain a gap to the #20 car.
A caution on Lap 63 negated all of his efforts with Leitzinger directly behind him for the restart on Lap 67 with just under seven minutes remaining. Fernandez executed not only an excellent restart but a series of strong laps to take the checkered flag with a 4.5 second lead over Leitzinger. The result extends the team's lead in the championship standings to 55 points.
In addition to their win, Lowe's Fernandez Racing also won their second Michelin® GREEN X® Challenge award, which acknowledges competitors that demonstrate the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact.
Adrian Fernandez: "It was a good weekend all around except maybe for my qualifying. Luis was very fast, very strong this weekend and I think maybe he could have got those two-tenths for pole. Today was a great performance by the whole team. Luis made a great start and was able to maintain pace with the Mazdas. Our car was more consistent and I think we proved that at the end when we double-stinted our Michelin tires. Like always, our Acura engine was very good on fuel. We may not have the horsepower on the straights but in all, the package is very strong. The restarts were tricky. The last one I didn't like, but I did what I had to do and it was just about timing. I practiced before to make sure I was in the right range for the engine, and it worked well. I have to thank the whole team. We made our pit stops stronger and more precise and that was key. This has been a fantastic season so far and I have to thank Lowe's, Acura and Michelin. Six wins is just amazing and just speaks volumes for this team. This is a team effort alongside our partners and it has been a fantastic combination for us this year. Personally, Elkhart Lake is a track that both Luis and I love. He got his first win here in Atlantics and finally I have mine. It's a very good feeling."
Luis Diaz: "I am very happy. This is a great result for the team. Adrian drove great and the guys did a fantastic job in the pits again. The engineers gave us a great race car. On my stint, I was passed at the start as always because we have a little bit of a disadvantage but when I saw that the car was behaving so well and that I could catch the Mazdas very easily, I tried to save fuel the best that I could to make sure that we would be in front of them after the pit stop. I did that and it worked perfectly. I think everybody did their job and this is great heading to Mosport."
Lowe's Fernandez Racing will travel to Canada in two weeks time for the next round of ALMS competition -- the Grand Prix of Mosport on August 30.