Phoenix: Fernandez Racing preview

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Hits Phoenix for Rolex Series Gainsco Grand Prix Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld take their No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley to the 1.51-mile "roval" course at Phoenix International Raceway for Saturday...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Hits Phoenix for Rolex Series Gainsco Grand Prix

Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld take their No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley to the 1.51-mile "roval" course at Phoenix International Raceway for Saturday night's 2-hour, 45-minute Rolex Grand American Series Gainsco Grand Prix. The duo come to PIR's mile oval -- with infield road course segment -- after Sunday's promising run at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif, where the Lowe's Fernandez Racing Daytona Prototype led 19 laps and came within an ill-timed yellow flag of seeing its fuel strategy pay off. It will be a "home" race for Fernandez, who lives in nearby Paradise Valley. He won his very first U.S. race on the oval here during his 1992 Indy Lights Series Rookie of the Year season, and has since made two Champ Car World Series starts (1994-95) and a NASCAR Busch Series start in the Lowe's/Hendrick Racing Chevrolet last fall.

Lowe's Fernandez Racing debuted in this season's opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, where it climbed as high as third before overheating problems ended a promising run. The team had solid runs at Mexico City, Homestead and Long Beach before bringing home a season-best eighth-place finish at Virginia International Raceway three weekends ago.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ ON THE TEAM'S INAUGURAL ROLEX SERIES SEASON: "We're taking baby steps, but they are going in the right direction. As far as our ability to compete with the established teams on the racetrack, that is getting better and better every week. We put ourselves in a position to get a podium finish --to maybe even win the race -- at Laguna Seca. So that made us all feel good about how things are going. We are learning more and more about these cars all the time. We learned some more at Laguna that will definitely help us again this week."

FERNANDEZ ON RACING AT HIS HOME TRACK: "Phoenix will always be a special place for me because I won my first race ever in the U.S. there. The infield section is very narrow, so with these cars, I think the fans are going to see lots of action from start to finish. On one hand, it will be very difficult to pass, but on the other hand, every pass is going to be an adventure. It will be nice to be sleeping in my own bed, staying in my own house, all weekend long. We will have a nice team dinner on Wednesday night to start the weekend, and hopefully we will bring home our best result of the season."

MARIO HABERFELD ON RACING FOR THE FIRST TIME AT PHOENIX: "I always like learning a new racetrack. We tested at Phoenix for a couple of days a while back and, from what I can tell, it looks like patience will be extremely important this weekend because the road course is not very wide. If you don't have the horsepower to pass people on the oval, you might have to take some chances in the infield. I just hope everybody behaves. As usual, we will do our best to stay out of trouble and hope our Lowe's race car is good at the end. My wife and I have been invited to stay at Adrian's house, so that will be very nice for us. We are learning a lot every week about the cars, the other drivers, and how this series works. One day soon it will all come together and will have a great result. I keep saying we need a little good luck one of these days. We are running better and better on the racetrack all the time. I think we are really due for some good luck, too."

-fr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Adrian Fernandez