Lowe's Fernandez Racing Clinches Driver Championship at Mosport It has been a dream season for Lowe's Fernandez Racing and drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz in the American Le Mans Series and today their outstanding season-long results ...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Clinches Driver Championship at Mosport
It has been a dream season for Lowe's Fernandez Racing and drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz in the American Le Mans Series and today their outstanding season-long results wrapped up the LMP2 driver championship. Their class victory in the Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport this afternoon sealed the championship with two races remaining. It is the seventh class win for the team and the first championship for Fernandez Racing in its ninth year of competition.
Today's race came down to an eventful 35 minutes for the Lowe's Fernandez Racing squad. Fernandez, who was leading the P2 class just ahead of the #20 Dyson Mazda -- their closest competitor in the championship standings -- was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for a pit lane speed violation after his final pit stop.
The penalty, which he served on Leader Lap 102 with 33 minutes remaining, allowed the #20 car to take the lead. Fernandez initially fell 15 seconds behind, but began to make up ground. With 14 minutes remaining, the two cars were running nose to tail and Fernandez was preparing for a battle to the checkered flag. That scenario came to an abrupt end two laps later as the #20 car retired with a mechanical problem.
The team and manufacturer's championship titles are still on the table as Lowe's Fernandez Racing heads to Braselton, Georgia, for the Petit Le Mans endurance classic on September 26.
Adrian Fernandez: "First, I have to thank Lowe's for giving us the opportunity to compete in the American Le Mans Series, and our great partners in Acura and Michelin. It has been a fantastic season. I have to thank the team and my teammate -- everybody did a fantastic job this year. We always focused on what we needed to do and we never gave up. Even with the penalty today, I just focused on what I had to do. That was an example of what we have done the whole year. I also have to thank Mazda and the Dyson team. They gave us tough competition. They had brand-new equipment this year and I am sure they will be even tougher next year. It was good to run with them.
"There are two races to go and it is nice to have this championship now. This is the first championship for Fernandez Racing and it is a very special feeling to share this with my great partner Tom Anderson. He has done a tremendous job with this team. This is a team that has a lot of people that have been with us a long time. They show race after race how strong this team is and I couldn't be prouder. We are also proud to be associated with such great companies as Lowe's, Acura and Michelin. Under such hard conditions that we are living in right now, for Lowe's to keep supporting us and supporting the Latin market is just fantastic. Thank you to all the Lowe's employees around the country and to the future employees in Mexico. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to win this championship."
Luis Diaz: "Today is a great feeling. First of all, I have to thank Adrian. He is a great boss, great teammate and a great friend. He is my idol and to win this championship with him means a lot to me and to a lot of people in Mexico. I also want to thank Lowe's, Acura and Michelin for their great support. It means so much to represent these great companies. Acura produces a great engine. We have had no problems this year and our Michelin tires have been awesome. This team is very, very strong and we can compete against anybody. I can't say enough about this team."
Tom Anderson: "The driver's championship today is a testimonial to reliability. The Acura chassis and the Acura engine have just performed flawlessly all year and coupled with the Michelin tires, it has just been an incredible, reliable program. It was a fantastic job by all the team and Adrian and Luis, and a big thanks to our partners Lowe's and Acura. This clinches our driver's championship. We will proceed to Petit to hopefully continue our quest for the manufacturer's and team championship awards."