Lime Rock: Fernandez Racing preview

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Back to Racing Action The American Le Mans Series begins the second half of its racing season this week with the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Located in northwest Connecticut, the Lime Rock ...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Back to Racing Action

The American Le Mans Series begins the second half of its racing season this week with the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Located in northwest Connecticut, the Lime Rock circuit is unique in that it offers no conventional grandstand or bleacher seating. Fans enjoy the racing action in a park-like setting from numerous vantage points around the scenic course.

Lowe's Fernandez Racing drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz will be looking to dust off the cobwebs following a seven-week break in the schedule and resume their momentum from the first half of the season. Class victories aboard the Michelin-shod #15 Lowe's Acura at Sebring, St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Salt Lake City have placed the pair at the top of the LMP2 championship standings with a 45-point lead.

As Fernandez and Diaz prepare for their third career starts at Lime Rock, the duo will be just as busy off the track. They will kick off the ALMS' new Green Park program on Tuesday, July 14, at Alvord Park in Torrington, Conn. The initiative, which will take place at each remaining race on the 2009 schedule, is a race-week, in-market "green" program hosted by the Series, the local track promoter, Lowe's and Michelin to help off-set the Series' carbon footprint and beautify an area within a race market. Local communities are invited to participate in Green Park programs which include elements such as park clean-ups, tree plantings and the creation of children's playgrounds.

Following the event, local race fans will have the chance to meet Fernandez and Diaz at the new Lowe's Home Improvement store in Torrington (420 Winsted Road) from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. In addition to an autograph session, there will be photo opportunities with the Lowe's show car and race weekend ticket giveaways.

On Wednesday, July 15, Fernandez and Diaz will visit the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford for a community and media day. Dyson Racing's Chris Dyson and Mario Franchitti and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing's Bill Auberlen will also participate in the event which includes visits with patients and photo opportunities with the #15 Lowe's show car. A media lunch will take place at 1:00 pm.

Of Note:

* In two previous starts at Lime Rock, Lowe's Fernandez Racing recorded its best results last year with a fourth-place class finish and fifth-place overall result

* Fernandez and Diaz currently lead the LMP2 point standings by 45 points following class wins in the first four races of the season at Sebring, St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Salt Lake City

* Their best overall finish was second at St. Petersburg

* Lowe's Fernandez Racing is currently second in the prototype category of the season-long Michelin® Green X® Challenge, which acknowledges competitors that demonstrate the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact

* In 27 career ALMS starts to date, Fernandez and Diaz have claimed four class pole positions, four class wins, nine podium finishes and 13 top-five results

Fernandez on starting the second half of the season: "With the long break, it almost feels like the start of a new season. Luis and I were joking on the phone that we hope we can find first gear. Seriously, it has been great to have this time to spend with my family, and now we are ready to pick up where we left off. I expect an all-out battle with the Mazdas this Saturday. This is their first year with this car. They have been making steady progress, and Salt Lake City is a good example. We had a great battle and we took the [class] win by just half-a-second. This is the home track for Dyson Racing so I know they will be doing everything they can to win here. For us, we have a year of experience with our car and that is a big plus. Our expectations are high each and every race weekend and that's a great feeling."

Diaz on the circuit: "It's challenging, for sure. Lime Rock is a short track for the prototype cars and that makes traffic a big factor. The passing zones are short except for the main straight. The winding corners make it difficult to work with traffic so you can lose a lot of time waiting to get past a slower car. They really improved the track a lot with the new pavement last year. I think the biggest challenge in terms of set-up will be finding the right level of downforce to get the speed we will need out of the car. I really enjoy coming here. It is a beautiful part of the country and the fans really make for a great atmosphere."

-credit: fr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Bill Auberlen , Luis Diaz , Chris Dyson
Teams Dyson Racing