Daytona II: Fernandez Racing preview

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Seeks Second Straight Win At Daytona's Midsummer Road Racing Classic Fresh off their milestone first-ever Grand American Rolex Series victory at Mid-Ohio last weekend, the Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Seeks Second Straight Win At Daytona's Midsummer Road Racing Classic

Fresh off their milestone first-ever Grand American Rolex Series victory at Mid-Ohio last weekend, the Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld trek to Daytona International Speedway for Thursday's night's 250-mile sports prototype race, the annual prelude to NASCAR's Pepsi 400 weekend at the legendary facility.

Having scored their maiden victory for the first-year team in only its ninth Rolex Series race, Fernandez and Haberfeld now return to the same 3.56-mile road circuit where it all started back in January at the Rolex 24-hour event. In the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Pontiac Riley team's series debut at Daytona, Fernandez, Haberfeld and co-driver Scott Sharp climbed as high as third in the early going but ultimately had to retire with overheating problems.

Last Saturday at Mid-Ohio, victory came in dramatic fashion as, despite qualifying third, the Lowe's racing machine was sent to the back for failing post-qualifying inspection and rallied from last in the 27-car Daytona Prototype field. Until that point, the first-year team showed steady progress with solid runs this season at Mexico City, Homestead, Long Beach and Laguna Seca before breaking through with a qualifying race win and top-five finish in the feature race at Phoenix.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ ON WINNING FOR THE FIRST TIME AT MID-OHIO:

"I am so proud of everyone involved with this program, especially the people from Lowe's who have had faith in us from Day One. It was so great to give them their first win. They have a history of winning races in NASCAR, and we just wanted to be part of their winning tradition. It feels just great. We never doubted that we could do it. We have worked very hard and I think we became competitive by the Laguna Seca race back in early May. Then, it just became a matter of time. For a first-year team to win a race in any kind of racing is a huge accomplishment. We have a great group of people who have been winners in other kinds of racing, like IndyCar and Champ Car, but it has been a huge learning experience in the Grand-Am series that we just had to work our way through. Saturday at Mid-Ohio was the reward for all that hard work and commitment."

RETURNING TO DAYTONA:

"We're going back to where this whole thing started. It seems like it's been a long time, in a lot of ways. But we are still so very new at this sports prototype racing. We have definitely come a long way since the 24-hour race. We had some very strong moments even during that first weekend at Daytona. We have made a lot of progress since January. We have our first win behind us, now. It will be really good to bring that momentum to Daytona. Things should be so much better this time. It will also be nice to be there together with our fellow members of the Team Lowe's Racing family over in the NASCAR garage."

MARIO HABERFELD ON RACING AT DAYTONA:

"Daytona was our first race in this series. We now know a lot more about everything -- the series, the competitors, the race cars. We also know what it takes to win. Obviously, the competition is going to be that much further along, too, at Daytona. It will be a whole different atmosphere than the 24-hour race. This is a one-day show, so we'll find out Thursday if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The important thing is, from Laguna Seca weekend until now, we have been very fast, very competitive, and we proved to ourselves and everybody else that we can win. We should have a very good chance to do it again at Daytona. It's a nice track with plenty of overtaking opportunities. It's a good place to race from the beginning of the race all the way to the end, which you don't get a chance to do during the 24-hour race."

U.S. Coverage: Television coverage of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be carried on SPEED-TV in 2006: Daytona Rolex Series Race -- Thursday, June 29 -- SPEED-TV -- 7:00 p.m. EDT (live).

Mexico Coverage: Rolex Series races will also be distributed around the world via ESPN International, and Spanish-language broadcasts via FOX Latin American Channels including FX in Mexico.

-fr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Scott Sharp