VIR: Fernandez Racing race report

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Eighth at VIR Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld appeared headed to a podium finish in the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley in the early going of today's Grand American Rolex Series VIR 400 at Virginia ...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Eighth at VIR

Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld appeared headed to a podium finish in the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley in the early going of today's Grand American Rolex Series VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway before a flat tire took them out of contention and left them fighting their way back to an eighth-place finish.

Haberfeld started 13th and worked his way up to fourth by Lap 8 of today's 77-lap event around the 3.27-mile road circuit near Alton, Va., by avoiding a rash of early race incidents and some heady driving of his own. But side-to-side contact with a GT-class competitor on a Lap-15 restart broke the valve stem on the right-rear tire of the Lowe's Daytona Prototype-class car and sent Haberfeld into the pits for a fresh set of tires under green, dropping him all the way back to 28th place. Six laps later, Haberfeld was back in the top-20, and he was up to eighth when he handed the car over to Fernandez during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 49. Fernandez resumed in 12th and picked up four positions during the final 28 laps.

The Porsche of Mike Rockenfeller and Patrick Long won the race in dramatic fashion on the very last lap, going from third to first in the final sequence of turns before the Start-Finish line. The next Rolex Series outing for the Lowe's Fernandez Racing team is May 7 at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif.

Adrian Fernandez

"It was an up-and-down day for sure, but despite what happened I think it finished on a positive note because we were running really fast laps at the end and catching up with the leaders. It was unfortunate the flat tire set us back so far. Mario got off to a really good start. We just need to have one of those days where we have a clean run from start to finish and we will finally have the great result we know we are capable of. We really wanted to put on a good show today because the CEO from Lowe's came out with his family to support our team in-person. That was a great lift for everybody on our team. I thought at the beginning we were going to show them a good result. All in all, I felt good out there running competitively and passing cars."

Mario Haberfeld

"The beginning of the race was great. We kept improving positions and moved from 13th to fourth. On the (Lap-15) restart, there were five GT cars between me and the top-three DP's. I was working my way around the GT cars when two of them got side-by-side as I was going by. There was contact and, unfortunately, I ended up with a flat right-rear tire. I really don't believe in luck because I feel you have to work hard to get things done, but it's been that type of bad luck that has ruined so many possible good finishes for us so far this year. That is going to turn around sooner or later. We just need to go out there and make the good luck for ourselves. I definitely think we could have been on the podium today. In the first part of the race, we were ahead of all three cars that ended up on the podium."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Long , Mike Rockenfeller