IRL: Watkins Glen: Fernandez Racing Friday report

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Duo Paces Opening Practice, Optimistic for Watkins Glen Six-Hour The Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld started the day with the fastest race car on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Duo Paces Opening Practice, Optimistic for Watkins Glen Six-Hour

The Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld started the day with the fastest race car on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International Raceway road course, then settled more and more into race setup mode as they continued preparations for Saturday's Grand American Rolex Series Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.

Fernandez turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 46.032 seconds (an average of 115.437 mph) in the day's opening practice session that was some three-tenths of a second better than the rest of the Daytona Prototype field. Haberfeld followed up with a top-five lap in the second session, and the two finished the day in the top eight in the final two-hour practice run.

With Thursday's on-track activity for the DP cars canceled by series' officials while awaiting the outcome of pending litigation, today's scheduled 15-minute qualifying session was scrubbed and Saturday's starting grid was set according to the latest team point standings. That put the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing entry on the inside of the fifth row for the start of Saturday's six-hour marathon, which begins at 2:30 p.m. EDT and will be carried live in its entirety by SPEED-TV.

Adrian Fernandez: "Obviously, we're feeling really good that the Lowe's car is working so well. We didn't have to do very much before we started practice today, and it turned out to be great right away. We were P1 in the opening practice, and then Mario jumped in and was P5 in the second session. So we're very strong again here this weekend after starting on the pole and almost finishing second at Phoenix. The disappointing thing is that we have to start the race on points, which I don't understand why. We have a fast car and I think we've had plenty of track time today -- 3 hours and 15 minutes total -- to be able to have a proper qualifying session. But that's the way it is and we just have to hope we won't have any problems starting back in ninth. It's a six-hour race, so it's definitely possible to have a good finish from there. I love our car here this weekend. I love this track. I almost wish it was a 24-hour race."

Mario Haberfeld: "I think (engineer) John (Ward) and the team did a really nice job of preparing the Lowe's car for this weekend. We were fast right out of the box today. Qualifying-wise, I think we would have had a strong shot at being on the pole, or at least on the front row. That would have helped us a lot for the start of the race. In the evening practice, we really focused on race setup and ran on full tanks as much as possible, which affected the balance of the car and gave us a little bit of work to do to fine-tune things. I really believe we are in great shape for the race, as long as the weather cooperates. The good thing is, if you had to pick a race to start on points, this would be a good one because you can win from anywhere on the grid."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Adrian Fernandez