Homestead: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez and Haberfeld Hope Testing Pays Off In Homestead Lowe's Fernandez Racing prepares for its third race on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series tour this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld will...

Fernandez and Haberfeld Hope Testing Pays Off In Homestead

Lowe's Fernandez Racing prepares for its third race on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series tour this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld will pilot the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley in Saturday night's 250-mile event on the challenging 2.3-mile road course. The team made its debut in the Rolex 24 At Daytona where it climbed as high as third place before overheating problems ended a promising run. In Mexico City, the duo started fourth and finished seventh. Fernandez will race Saturday night then watch his IndyCar Series teams with drivers Scott Sharp and Kosuke Matsuura compete on the Homestead oval Sunday.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ ON RACING IN HOMESTEAD: "We tested there a few weeks ago and learned a lot about what it takes to run fast. The road course is smooth and fast. It's quite different from Mexico City where the track was very bumpy. People might look at the two circuits and say they are similar in appearance, but to the drivers and engineers they are worlds apart. I think we will do better at Homestead, and feel this will be our best race so far this year. We are getting more and more familiar with the cars, and our crew is catching up to everyone else."

FERNANDEZ ON THE NO. 12 LOWE'S FERNANDEZ TEAM: "We were a lot better in Mexico City than our seventh place finish. Unfortunately, Mario got a penalty early in the race and that dropped us back in the field. I think what we learned in testing will pay dividends this weekend."

ON CO-DRIVER MARIO HABERFELD: "The more I am around Mario the more I realize what a good choice we made in hiring him. He is a quiet guy, but very knowledgeable about race cars. He really works well with our engineers. On top of all that, he is very fast. I feel Mario is one of the most talented drivers in racing, and we feel fortunate to have him on our team."

ON WATCHING SHARP AND MATSUURA: "I hope we can win Saturday night and put the pressure on those guys to win on Sunday. I know our two IRL teams are very optimistic for the start of the season this weekend. We tested very well here. I wouldn't mind going to victory lane as a driver and an owner this weekend."

MARIO HABERFELD ON HOMESTEAD: "I live in Key Biscayne now so this is as close to a home race as I am going to have this season. I have lots of friends and family coming to the race. You want to do well every race but when you have a lot of people you know watching, it makes that desire a little bit stronger. I think this weekend you will see how good our team really is. We had a chance to test here and learned a lot about what the Lowe's car likes and doesn't like. There are a lot of slow corners and you have the oval corners that aren't easy corners to be flat every lap. We tested a little at night as well. This is the best prepared we have been for a race, and I expect that will show on the track."

ABOUT THE DRIVERS

* Fernandez, 42, a Mexico City native who now resides in Paradise Valley, Ariz., made his mark as an open-wheel star through a 12-year career at the top levels of the sport. In 2005, he branched out to NASCAR running six races with Hendrick Motorsports in the Busch Series.

* Haberfeld, 29, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and current resident of Key Biscayne, Fla., is a former British Formula 3 champion, who made his U.S. racing debut in the Champ Car World Series contesting the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

TEAM

* Fernandez Racing was formed in 2000 by Fernandez and motorsports veteran Tom Anderson. The team has grown to encompass the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing and Delphi Fernandez Racing teams, which currently contest the IndyCar Series with drivers Kosuke Matsuura and Scott Sharp respectively. Lowe's Fernandez Racing is based at the Fernandez Racing headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. Anderson oversees the program as managing director, with Steve Miller as team manager, Mike Sales as chief mechanic and John Ward as race engineer.

* Miller has been involved in motorsports for over 20 years in a variety of roles from mechanic to engineer and team director, and most recently served as general manager for Fernandez Racing. Formerly based in Mexico for eight years, Miller speaks fluent Spanish.

* Sales has spent the past four years at Fernandez Racing in both chief mechanic and team manager roles and, as a veteran of over 33 years in the sport, brings valued racing experience.

* Ward's distinguished career as a race and design engineer dates back to the mid '70s, and he most recently served as race engineer with Fernandez Racing in the IndyCar Series. His impressive roster of accomplishments include the design of a Daytona 24-Hour and Sebring 12-Hour race-winning chassis.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Scott Sharp , Adrian Fernandez , Tom Anderson , Kosuke Matsuura , Steve Miller
Teams Hendrick Motorsports