Utah: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez and Diaz Ready for Return to Racing Action Miller Motorsports Circuit Familiar Territory for Lowe's Fernandez Racing The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) returns to competition this weekend following a three-week break and will head to...

Fernandez and Diaz Ready for Return to Racing Action
Miller Motorsports Circuit Familiar Territory for Lowe's Fernandez Racing

The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) returns to competition this weekend following a three-week break and will head to the state-of-the-art Miller Motorsports Park facility near Salt Lake City for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix on Saturday. The longest track on the ALMS calendar at 4.5 miles, Miller Motorsports Park is one of only four circuits on the schedule that Lowe's Fernandez Racing enters with past racing experience.

Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz both have competed at the unique and fast 24-turn permanent road course last year in Grand-Am competition. They are looking to put that experience into play and return to front-running form after a disappointing Round Four of competition on the streets of Houston where the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola's handling succumbed to the rigors of the ultra bumpy circuit.

In its first season of ALMS competition, Lowe's Fernandez Racing has shown its potential. Fernandez and Diaz finished second in their debut at the prestigious Twelve-Hours of Sebring in March and looked headed for their first victory two weeks later in St. Petersburg until a costly penalty knocked the duo out of contention. In Long Beach, Fernandez was set to battle the #6 Penske Porsche of Sascha Maassen for second place in the closing stages until a gamble on fuel relegated the team to a seventh-place result. The last ALMS event at Houston was a humbling experience for the duo as they continuously fought handling issues and finished seventh.

Fernandez and Diaz are currently sixth in the driver championship -- 12 points out of third. Lowe's Fernandez Racing is placed fifth in the team championship standings.

Race Notes:

* Circuit -- 4.486-mile, 24-turn road course

* Saturday's ALMS race will be 2 hours 45 minutes (5:05 pm MDT start)

* Driver changes: each driver must complete at least 10 laps to be eligible for point awards, and a driver may not drive more than two hours total in the race

Of Note:

* Fernandez and Diaz competed at Miller Motorsports Park in the 2006 Grand-Am Series

* Fernandez qualified ninth and was running third when he was eliminated by a mechanical problem with four hours remaining in the nine-hour endurance race

* Diaz and then co-driver Scott Pruett qualified on pole and finished the race in fourth position

* A first-year team in ALMS competition, Lowe's Fernandez Racing has claimed two top-five results to date -- second at Sebring and fourth at St. Petersburg

* Fernandez entered sports car competition in 2006 after a successful career at the top levels of open-wheel racing

* Diaz, voted "Driver of the Year" in Mexico in 2006, brings the most sports car racing experience to the team with eight wins in three years of Grand-Am competition

FERNANDEZ ON RETURNING TO RACING AFTER A THREE-WEEK BREAK: "I am more than ready to get back at it after a frustrating weekend for us at the last race in Houston. The Miller Motorsports facility is just first-class and, being a smoother track, it should really suit our car. It also helps that both Luis and I have experience here because this is a unique circuit. It is so long and relatively flat that reference points can be a challenge.

"On a personal note, the three-week break really came at a great time as my wife Catalina gave birth to our daughter, Valentina, the Sunday after Houston. The last two weeks have just been incredible. Obviously, sleep is at a premium these days in the Fernandez house but that comes with the territory."

DIAZ ON THE MILLER MOTORSPORTS CIRCUIT: "First of all, I am very excited for this weekend. Adrian and I and the team have experience at this track from the nine-hour [Grand-Am] endurance race here last year which is a definite advantage and I think we can bring home a great result. This is an amazing place. The facility is incredible and the track is a really enjoyable to drive. It is very fast track and wide with a lot of passing opportunities and a lot of really fast corners. We have a lot more track time this weekend compared to the last three races which will really help us. We are new to this series and we are still learning a lot. Coming off three street circuits in a row, which I really like, it will be nice to be back on a road course. Hopefully, we will get our second podium this weekend."

-credit: fernandez racing

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Scott Pruett , Sascha Maassen , Luis Diaz