Lowe's Fernandez Racing 15th at Laguna Seca Road & Track 250 It was an up-and-down day for the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley of Mario Haberfeld and Adrian Fernandez, which utilized pit strategy to lead some 20 laps of today's...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing 15th at Laguna Seca Road & Track 250
It was an up-and-down day for the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley of Mario Haberfeld and Adrian Fernandez, which utilized pit strategy to lead some 20 laps of today's Grand American Rolex Series Road & Track 250 at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif., but ultimately had to settle for a 15th-place finish after an untimely yellow flag and a multi-car pileup on the final lap.
Haberfeld started 13th and passed three cars in the opening laps before settling into the top 10. He stayed on track during the second caution period of the day on Lap 21 with the rest of the top 10 electing to pit. Haberfeld restarted in the lead, which he held until Lap 42 of today's 88-lap event around the scenic 2.238-mile hillside road circuit. Haberfeld was in third when he finally pitted under green for tires and fuel and the driver change to Fernandez on Lap 55. Fernandez resumed in 17th with most all of the cars in front of him needing to stop one more time before race's end. But a yellow flag just four laps later enabled a majority of those competitors to pit and maintain track position in front of him, leaving Fernandez in eighth on the Lap-66 restart. He was running in ninth when he was pushed off the track into a gravel trap on the last lap.
The team will be back in action next Saturday night (May 13) at Phoenix International Raceway.
Adrian Fernandez: "It was a good day and a not-so-good day for us, but we leave here an even better team than when we got here. We learned in the qualifying race yesterday that we needed to add a little bit of understeer to the car for today, but I think maybe we went a little too far. Our pit strategy was good. Mario brought the car home clean, and he led a lot of laps, which is always a good thing for Team Lowe's Racing fans. If it wouldn't have been for the (Lap-59) yellow, we would have probably been on the podium for sure. Sometimes you win those gambles, sometimes you don't. In the end, there was a slower car holding up a lot of us. We got three-wide in the turn and, unfortunately, I was the one on the outside who got pushed off the track."
Mario Haberfeld -- "We got off to a good start, passing some cars at the beginning. Then we took care of the car and the fuel mileage, trying to keep the car in one piece and working hard to make the race distance on one stop. I think the team made a really good call to stay out when everybody else pitted (on Lap 21). We were in position to maybe win the race, or at least to be on the podium. We had maybe a little more understeer than we wanted in the car because the tires just never went away. Maybe it was because there were so many yellows (seven) that the tires didn't have a chance to go away, but those are the things we are learning about right now with these cars. The good thing is we showed we can run up front and stay up front. And the best thing is that it's not too long until our next race."