Watkins Glen: Fernandez Racing preview

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Set for Watkins Glen Six-Hour Grand American Rolex Series Marathon The Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld are set to take on the grueling Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen Grand American...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Set for Watkins Glen Six-Hour Grand American Rolex Series Marathon

The Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld are set to take on the grueling Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen Grand American Rolex Series race Saturday at the legendary Watkins Glen International Raceway.

They'll be behind the wheel of the No. 12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype that scored a milestone vi ctory for the first-year team in the qualifying race at Phoenix three weekends ago and came within 11 laps of at least a runner-up finish in the main event before being punted from behind. Fernandez and Haberfeld led laps (16) for the second weekend in a row during that run at Phoenix and brought home the season's first top-five finish. They'll share the driving duties this weekend for the traditional six-hour marathon on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen road course layout.

Lowe's Fernandez Racing debuted in this season's opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, where it climbed as high as third before overheating problems ended a promising run. The first-year team has shown steady progress with solid runs this season at Mexico City, Homestead, Long Beach and Laguna Seca before its breakthrough weekend at Phoenix.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ ON THE SEASON'S PROGRESS: "I think we have to be very happy with the way the Lowe's Fernandez team has been progressing so far this season. Watkins Glen will only be our eighth race as a sports car team, but we have people who have been winners in other racing series and it really is beginning to show in the way we are more and more competitive every time we go to the track. Phoenix was a very special weekend for us. It felt really good to be the fastest car in Friday practice, and then lead every lap of the qualifying race. It was disappointing to not be able to finish first or second, which I think we deserved, but what happened to us at the end of the race was not something we could control. Our best days are definitely ahead of us. We are very excited about going to Watkins Glen and hopefully continuing in the positive direction we are headed."

MARIO HABERFELD ON RACING FOR THE FIRST TIME AT WATKINS GLEN: "We tested at Watkins Glen some time ago and I was very positively surprised by the track. I think it is one of the best tracks I've ever been on here in the U.S. It's really fast, and it's really long, which will be a very nice change from (the short, tight track at) Phoenix. We worked some on setup during the test but it was really cold and the conditions will be very different there this weekend, so it was more a good chance for Adrian and me to learn the track. Still, we were very competitive at the test compared to the other DPs. Between that, and the great things we were able to do at Phoenix, I see no reason why we shouldn't be competitive again at Watkins Glen. We're getting a better and better grip on setting up the car each weekend we race. This weekend is a long race, so you don't necessarily have to be the quickest car. You just have to have a good car and be patient, which we are."

HABERFELD ON RETURNING TO A TRADITIONAL QUALIFYING FORMAT: "I think Grand-Am did a good thing by experimenting with something different. After seeing that it really wasn't the right thing to do, I think right now it's good that we go back to a traditional qualifying session. The thing I didn't like about the qualifying race was the fact it gave maximum race points for just that little race. It's great that the series is looking at trying new things. One of these days they will come up with something else that is new and unusual, something that will work well, and something that will really make the series stand out even more."

ABOUT THE DRIVERS

* Fernandez, 43, a Mexico City native who now resides in Paradise Valley, Ariz., made his mark as an open-wheel star through a 12-year career at the top levels of the sport. In 2005, he branched out to NASCAR running six races with Hendrick Motorsports in the Busch Series.

* Haberfeld, 29, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and current resident of Key Biscayne, Fla., is a former British Formula 3 champion, who made his U.S. racing debut in the Champ Car World Series contesting the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

-Fernandez Racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Adrian Fernandez
Teams Hendrick Motorsports