Lowe's Fernandez Racing Qualifies Third, Then Sent to Back at Mid-Ohio The Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld qualified third for Saturday night's Grand American Rolex Series race at the Mid-Ohio ...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Qualifies Third, Then Sent to Back at Mid-Ohio
The Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld qualified third for Saturday night's Grand American Rolex Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but will start from the back of the Daytona Prototype-class field after the No. 12 car, along with both front-row qualifiers, failed post-qualifying inspection.
Haberfeld turned in his best qualifying effort of the season in the No. 12 Lowe's racing machine, clocking a fast lap of 1 minute, 20.615 seconds (an average of 100.835 mph) over the scenic 2.258-mile circuit between Columbus and Cleveland to secure the third spot on Saturday night's 44-car starting grid. However, during the post-qualifying inspection by Rolex Series officials, the nose of the Lowe's racing machine was judged to be some 1-16th of an inch too wide. Thus, Haberfeld will start Saturday night's 2-hour, 45-minute main event at the back of the pack behind the pole-winning No. 76 Krohn Racing entry, and the #01 Ganassi Racing entry.
This morning's opening 90 minutes of practice was conducted entirely in wet, drizzly conditions with Fernandez shown quickest when he stopped running some 10 minutes before the end of the session. He ended up sixth overall. Haberfeld followed that up with the eighth-best lap in conditions that ultimately turned moderately dry but was plagued by traffic this afternoon.
Forty minutes of final practice is set for 10:25 a.m. EDT Saturday. Race time is 5:30 p.m. EDT Saturday with SPEED-TV providing a tape-delayed broadcast of the event beginning at 3 p.m. EDT Sunday.
Adrian Fernandez: "It was a great day for us, at first. But it seems like every time we are having a good day, something has happened to ruin it for us. I can't believe something has happened to us again today. It's funny because we passed inspection when we got here yesterday, did absolutely nothing to the car, and then we are told we are too wide in the front of the car after qualifying. I'm not happy about this at all, but what are you going to do? Now we have to start from the back and hope for the best. This is a great racetrack, but it can be really difficult when you have to deal with all the traffic we will have to deal with. The good news is, we have a fast race car. Mario gave us a really great qualifying effort. The Lowe's car was really good in the wet, and it was really good in the dry conditions. We're learning more and more about this car every week. We are light years from where we were when we started the season at Daytona in January."
Mario Haberfeld: "I thought we had something to feel really happy about, until we learned the news about the (post-qualifying) inspection. I was really happy with the car all day. I even had to get off the throttle completely on my fastest lap because two cars spun in front of me. I can't say how much time that cost us, but we still ended up with a really good lap. It would have been great to start third. Now it's going to be very difficult to fight our way back from where we have to start. But we have a good car. We will have a chance to work some more on our dry setup during the morning warmup. We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best."