Friday
May182007

TEAM NEWS: FERNANDEZ AND DIAZ TO START THIRD AT UTAH GRAND PRIX

Photo by John Thawley The Lowe's Fernandez Racing driving duo of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz will start third overall for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix following an impressive qualifying run by Diaz this afternoon. Saturday's 2-hour 45-minute race at the state-of-the-art Miller Motorsports Park facility will mark their fifth career start in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) competition. The pair own two top-four finishes aboard the #15 Lowe's Acura-powered Lola in the four events held to date and hope to chase their second podium of the season tomorrow following strong runs in the two one-hour practice sessions leading up to qualifying (fourth overall in Practice 1 and fifth overall in Practice 2).

Both Fernandez and Diaz have experience on the long and fast 4.486-mile, 24-turn permanent road course from Grand-Am competition in 2006.

Saturday's race will begin at 5:05 pm MT and will be broadcast on CBS at 1:00 pm ET Sunday, May 20. It will be carried live on Fox/SPEED Latin America and XM Satellite Radio Sports Nation.

Adrian Fernandez, #15 Lowe's Acura Lola:

"We are very happy. Luis did a fantastic job in qualifying. Obviously, it would have been better if we were on pole but 1.3 seconds here is not as much as it may look because this is a long track with a lot of corners. The Porsches are definitely quick and we are working hard to close the gap. We didn't put a solid time in yesterday but we knew that we were faster and the segments were good. Luis and I have been working really well to get the car where it needs to be and I think he got the most out of the car. I don't think we had any more there. I am very happy for the result. It is good for Luis – his first qualifying run of the year. Now we need to make a good race and hopefully we can net a good result."

Adrián Fernández Fast Facts… is a veteran of a 12-year career at the top levels of open-wheel competition, winning in both Champ Car (CART) and IndyCar Series competition with a career record that includes 194 starts, 11 wins and 25 podiums… debuted in sports car competition in 2006, winning the Mid-Ohio Rolex Sports Car Series race and claiming four additional top-five finishes… began competing in select NASCAR Busch Series events in 2005, driving for Team Lowe's Racing and Hendrick Motorsports and most recently finished ninth in the Busch race at Mexico City on March 4… finished fifth in the IndyCar Series championship in his inaugural season in 2004 with three wins and six top-five finishes… missed the 2000 Champ Car championship crown by only 10 points, finishing second in the series… has garnered numerous awards over the years including "Athlete of the Year in Mexico"… named one of Mexico's 300 most influential people by a national magazine in 2006… 43 years old from Mexico City…resides in Scottsdale, Ariz., with wife Catalina and daughter Valentina.

Luis Diaz, #15 Lowe's Acura Lola:

"I am very happy for the team. We didn't have the chance to test here so we used yesterday and this morning's sessions as a test day. Every session we had a good car that was getting better and better, and we had a very competitive car for qualifying. The team worked really hard and gave us a great car. I am very proud of them and they deserve the credit. I know we have a good car for the race tomorrow."

Luis Díaz Fast Facts... debuted in sports car competition in 2004 and has claimed eight wins over the past three years as well as Rolex Sports Car Series Team Championship honors in 2006 and a second-place result in the driver championship co-driving with Scott Pruett… was named "Driver of the Year" in Mexico in 2006… won the Mexico Formula 3 championship in 1998… earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Mexican Indy Lights Pan-American Championship, Mexico Formula 3 Championship and Formula Reynard Series Mexico… U.S. open-wheel success includes a fourth-place finish in the 2002 Atlantic championship… began racing go-karts at the age of 12, winning several national championships… 29 years old from Mexico City… resides in Toluca, Mexico, with wife Carolina… nickname is "Chapulín" (Cha-poo-leen) which means grasshopper.

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