Lowe's Fernandez Racing Salvages Top-20 Finish at Daytona Just five days after scoring the first-year team's maiden victory at Mid-Ohio, an off-course excursion midway through tonight's Grand American Rolex Series race at Daytona International...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Salvages Top-20 Finish at Daytona
Just five days after scoring the first-year team's maiden victory at Mid-Ohio, an off-course excursion midway through tonight's Grand American Rolex Series race at Daytona International Speedway took the Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Mario Haberfeld and Adrian Fernandez, but they still were able to salvage a top-20 finish in tonight's 70-lap event.
Haberfeld started from the 10th position on a grid determined by team points standings after a radio communication problem between race control and track safety officials forced the cancellation of this afternoon's qualifying session. Haberfeld vaulted to sixth place by the second tour of the 3.56-mile road course and maintained his position in the top eight during his 35-lap opening stint despite fighting increasingly loose conditions. He pitted on Lap 35 for tires, fuel and the driver change to Fernandez.
On Lap 36, Fernandez briefly drifted off-course and through the infield grass, losing the front bodywork on the #12 Lowe's Fernandez racing machine. He pitted immediately for a new nose piece, which took three laps to install. He resumed in 24th place and climbed into the top-20 some 15 laps later. Fernandez ultimately came home 17th when the checkered flag flew on Lap 70.
The Rolex Series resumes July 28-30 at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Ala.
"We were solid in the early part of the race thanks to Mario, but what happened when I got in the car was totally my fault. It was my out lap and I was distracted by the 60 car going into a right-hand turn, got a little loose, and went straight off into the grass. Unfortunately, when the nose on these cars touches the grass, it acts like a shovel and usually gets ripped off the car. That ended our chances for a top-five finish. But we stayed with it until the end and picked up a lot of positions before the finish. Now we have three weeks to get ready for the last four races of the season. We'll be ready."
"We got off to a good start. We went from 10th to sixth in the first laps. I got another car on a restart right after that and I think we were in position to have a good top-five, top-six finish. (Engineer) John (Ward) did an excellent job giving us a race setup that worked pretty well. We were not competitive in practice this morning because it was so hot and there was no grip. But we were very balanced during the race. We were good in the corners, but we were just a little bit at a disadvantage on the long straights and could not take advantage of our good handling. Unfortunately, what happened after I got out of the car is the kind of stuff that happens from time to time. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you have nights like tonight. Fortunately, we showed we can win last weekend. We have four more races to try and do it again."