Early End for Lowe's Fernandez Racing's Impressive Run in Rolex 24 At Daytona The Lowe's Fernandez Racing driver stable of Adrian Fernandez, Mario Haberfeld and Scott Sharp experienced an early end to their promising debut at Daytona...
Early End for Lowe's Fernandez Racing's Impressive Run in Rolex 24 At Daytona
The Lowe's Fernandez Racing driver stable of Adrian Fernandez, Mario Haberfeld and Scott Sharp experienced an early end to their promising debut at Daytona International Speedway in the Grand American Racing Rolex Series. An overheating problem just shy of the eight-hour mark in the Rolex 24 At Daytona resulted in the early retirement of the #12 Lowe's Pontiac Riley.
Fernandez, who qualified seventh in a field of 31 Daytona Prototypes, assumed initial driving duties. It was his first career start in the Rolex 24, and he ended his two-hour run in fifth position. Haberfeld was on-deck next, and continued the team's progress. He was shown in third at the completion of his two-hour stint.
Sharp, unfortunately, was a victim of an off-course excursion while passing a slower car. There was extensive damage to the front of the Pontiac Riley but the team was able to make repairs, and Sharp returned to the track at 5:00 pm. The overheating problem occurred two hours later.
Lowe's Fernandez Racing will head to Mexico City next for the second round of Rolex Series competition at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on March 2 - 4.
Adrian Fernandez: "We had an overheating problem that ended our day. It was a shame we didn't finish but we were able to get some laps in and to learn. The car was really good for the first couple of stints. Then, unfortunately, Scott had his incident. The team did a great job in repairing the car and getting us back out. We have to thank everyone at Lowe's. We put this deal together very late and, obviously, we were hoping to do a lot better than this. Things happen in 24-hour races and unfortunately this happened. Everyone on the team did a great job. We learned a lot and I know we will come back strong in Mexico."
Mario Haberfeld: "Given the short time we had to prepare [this program], I think we are doing extremely well. We showed the potential we have for the rest of the season. We ran as high as third, but things happen in races like this. It was a good experience and we learned a lot in terms of how to prepare the car. Adrian and I, who will carry on the rest of the season, had two good hours of running. To me, that is very valuable. Unfortunately, we had to stop early. I am really impressed with the whole team and the way they prepared the car and made improvements since our test here. I am really looking forward to the rest of the season."
Scott Sharp: "This certainly wasn't the day we all hoped for, and certainly for me. I was forced to go around the outside of the kink in Turn Four because a slow [Daytona] Prototype car was on the inside of the track. With all the marbles out there, the car just slid right off the road onto the grass, which would have been fine but unfortunately there were a lot of undulations and pits out there. The front splitter just dug into one of those and it ripped the front clip of the car off. It was bad luck both in timing of where I caught the car and the situation of not having nice grass that you could slide around on. The crew just did a fantastic job of repairing the car. It was unbelievable how they just jumped on it and replaced the entire front, and did a lot of work to the rear. We were back out running again and running the fastest laps the car had run all race. Unfortunately, we ended up being put out by some type of engine issue."
Tom Anderson: "It was a very disappointing day for the Lowe's team. We had a fast car and we were sitting in a reasonable position early in the race. Unfortunately, we came across some slower traffic and some debris on the side of the road. Scott was unable to avoid that situation and by the time he was able to get the car back, it had caused a severe overheating problem. We took it as far as we could but that eventually lead to our early retirement. The overheating damaged the motor beyond repair tonight, and our first race is now in the record books. I want to thank everyone at Grand American for the warm welcome. The Lowe's team is very happy to be here, and we look forward to our next race in Mexico City."