TEAM NEWS: Fernandez and Diaz Prepare for Debut at Lime Rock

Photo by John Thawley The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) returns to racing this weekend after a six-week break in the schedule. Lime Rock Park, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, will host Round Six of competition -- the Northeast Grand Prix -- on Saturday. The fast 1.54-mile, 8-turn permanent road course located in Lakeville, Conn., an hour's drive from Hartford, is a new venue for Lowe's Fernandez Racing, and Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz will both be turning their first laps at the historic circuit this week.

Despite the break in the schedule, June was a busy month for Fernandez who made a successful debut in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. Driving a Barazi-Epsilon Zytek LMP2 entry sponsored by Lowe's, Fernandez and co-drivers Haruki Kurosawa and Robbie Kerr claimed pole position in their class and a hard-fought second-place LMP2 finish.

Diaz, alongside Fernandez, dusted off the cobwebs from their last tours aboard the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola mid-May with a successful two-day test at Mid-Ohio last week. Diaz had his first look at the Lime Rock Park track yesterday, handling driving duties in an ALMS half-day open test session.

Race Notes:

* Circuit -- 1.54-mile (with chicane), 8-turn permanent road


* Saturday's ALMS race will be 2 hours 45 minutes (3:05 pm EDT


* Driver changes: each driver must complete at least 10 laps to be

eligible for point awards, and a driver may not drive more than two

hours total in the race

Of Note:

* Fernandez and Diaz both will be making their career debuts at Lime

Rock Park

* The pair have claimed three top-five finishes in the five races held

to date

* Fernandez and Diaz currently sit sixth in the championship standings,

only seven points out of third place

* Lowe's Fernandez Racing is currently ranked fifth in the team

standings, only eight points out of second place

* Fernandez and Diaz captured their best finish to date of second in

the Twelve Hours of Sebring

DIAZ ON THE LIME ROCK PARK CIRCUIT FOLLOWING YESTERDAY'S TEST: "It was an interesting day. It is a nice track -- very tricky and very technical. There are two very tricky corners and I was not expecting it to be this bumpy. Today was a great opportunity for us to learn this track and it was a more positive day than what we showed on the time charts. The team knows what the car needs. We were working on our setup and we know what we need to be quick and competitive in the race."

ALMS Schedule -- Northeast Grand Prix:

July 6 10:45 am - 11:45 am ET Practice

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm ET Practice

4:20 pm - 4:40 pm ET Qualifying

July 7 11:10 am - 11:35 am ET Warm Up

3:05 pm- 5:45 pm ET Race CBS Sports -- 1:00 pm ET July 8

FOX/SPEED Latin America

XM Satellite Radio Sports Nation Live

About the Drivers:

Adrian Fernandez... 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.

Luis Diaz... 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 "Chapulin" (Cha-poo-leen) which means grasshopper.

About the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola:

* Powered by the new 3.4-liter Acura LM V-8 engine designed and developed by HPD [Honda Performance Development], Honda's wholly-owned racing subsidiary based in Santa Clarita, Calif.

* Chassis is the Lola B05/40 LMP2 sportscar

* Tires are Michelin

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Key Personnel:

* Tom Anderson, co-owner/managing director (founded Fernandez Racing with Fernandez in 2000)

* Steve Miller, general manager (seventh year with the team; reunited with Diaz who he worked with in 2000 in Indy Lights)

* Mike Sales, team manager (as a chief mechanic, has had a decade long relationship with Adrian Fernandez which includes victories in Champ Car, IndyCar Series and Grand-Am competition)

* John Ward, race engineer (is in is eighth year as a race engineer for Adrian Fernandez; designer of many Eagle chassis for Dan Gurney's All American Racers including the Eagle Mk III IMSA GTP car which won the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 1992 and 1993)

* Tony Leith, chief mechanic (was a lead and chief mechanic in ALMS in the late '90s with Panoz Motorsports -- team won the Petit Le Mans)


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