Lowe's Fernandez Racing Returns to Watkins Glen for Friday Night's Rolex Series 200-Mile Sprint The Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld are riding a streak of three top-five finishes in their last five events as...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Returns to Watkins Glen for Friday Night's Rolex Series 200-Mile Sprint
The Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld are riding a streak of three top-five finishes in their last five events as they make a return trip to Watkins Glen International to help kick off a weekend of NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series racing with Friday night's 200-mile Grand American Rolex Series event.
Fernandez and Haberfeld's five-race stretch leading up to this weekend's race at The Glen started with a qualifying race victory and fifth-place run in the main event at Phoenix in mid-May, continued with the first-year team's maiden main-event victory at Mid-Ohio in June, and culminated two weekends ago with another fifth-place finish in Birmingham, Ala. In their last visit to The Glen, for June's annual six-hour marathon race, Fernandez and Haberfeld were fastest in the opening practice session. An off-course excursion on a rain-slicked race course, however, foiled the team's bid for a return trip to Victory Lane on race day.
Fernandez, meanwhile, will be pulling double-duty this weekend as he attempts to make his second NASCAR Busch Series start of the season in the #57 Lowe's-sponsored Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on Saturday. He qualified fourth and finished 12th in the Busch race at Mexico City in March. Fernandez has seven previous Busch Series starts with a best finish of 10th in the Lowe's Racing Chevrolet at Mexico City in 2005.
Before breaking through with their Rolex Series victory at Mid-Ohio, which came in dramatic fashion as Fernandez and Haberfeld rallied from last in the 27-car Daytona Prototype field, the Lowe's Fernandez team was a picture of steady progress from the season-opener onward. They enjoyed solid runs at Mexico City, Homestead, Long Beach and Laguna Seca before their breakthrough weekend at Phoenix.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ ON RETURNING TO WATKINS GLEN: "Watkins Glen was a really good racetrack for the Lowe's team the last time we were there in June. We were very good in practice, but did not get a chance to qualify because of some off-track issues, and then we had some problems during the race. I really believe we will have a car capable of finishing in the top three and I'm looking forward to continuing the momentum we had at Barber (Motorsports Park in Alabama). We raced on the long (3.4-mile) course the last time at Watkins Glen but we'll be on the shorter (2.45-mile) NASCAR course this time. It should not make a difference for us. I really like the track no matter what the configuration. It's a lot of fun, especially when you have a good car."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ ON PULLING DOUBLE DUTY: "I'm really excited about the weekend. We should be very competitive like we were at Mexico City the last two seasons, so I'm looking forward to the possibility of a great result. There will be a lot of my fellow open-wheel drivers in the Busch race, so that makes it even more fun. I get to drive with a great team, and a great owner -- Rick Hendrick. I'll have my crew chief (Peter Sospenzo) that I had at Mexico this year, where we had a great weekend together. We qualified fourth and were running second when somebody had a problem in the chicane and ran into me. Still, we finished 12th . Last year in Mexico, we were leading until we got penalized. It will be a long race and I understand more and more what it really takes to get to the end in these NASCAR races. Hopefully, we can come out on top."
MARIO HABERFELD ON RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: "I have been looking forward to going back to Watkins Glen since we were there in June. We had a really good race car there, but unfortunately we had to start the race on points, and then we got caught on slicks in the middle of the race when it started raining. We could not take advantage of our good car. Hopefully, we will be even better this time and we will get the result that we know we are capable of. It will be exciting for Adrian to drive in both the Rolex Series race on Friday and the NASCAR race on Saturday."