Lowe’s Fernandez Racing drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz made their third consecutive trip to the Mid-Ohio winner’s circle this afternoon. This time, however, it was to take the top step on the podium as the pair claimed the LMP2 class victory and a third-place overall result in the Acura Sports Car Challenge. It was the first ALMS win for the team at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and their fifth win of the season.
An underdog on top speed going into the race, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing combined smart driving with excellent pit strategy to bring home the result. Diaz started the race and, as expected, fell victim to some of the more powerful cars at the start. When he pitted on Lap 53 [80 minutes into the race] he was shown first in class and third overall as pit stops cycled through and his quick laps prior to the stop enabled Fernandez to return to the track ahead of the #20 Dyson Mazda for a time.
The key to the race took place on Leader Lap 80 with 48 minutes remaining. Fernandez was running fifth overall and third in class when the team pitted under caution deciding to short fill on fuel and not to change their Michelin tires. The quick stop allowed Fernandez to come out ahead of the leader on the track. The result was a wave around which gave the team a lap advantage on the #20 Dyson Mazda and #6 Porsche Spyder. Fernandez managed a strong pace in the closing stages to take the checkered flag 22 seconds ahead of the #6 car.
Lowe’s Fernandez Racing will return to competition next weekend with the Generac 500 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on August 16.
Race Results Overall:
1. de Ferran/Pagenaud – LMP1 Acura ARX 02a
2. Brabham/Sharp – LMP1 Acura ARX 02a
3. Fernandez/Diaz – LMP2 Lowe’s Acura ARX-01b
Adrian Fernandez: “It was good race from all aspects. We are very happy to win this for Acura and Lowe’s and also to put on a good show for the fans. We double-stinted the Michelin tires at the end and had a fantastic strategy in the pits which managed to get us out ahead of the race leader and put us a lap ahead of the guys we were fighting with. That was fantastic. It was great work from the team and I am really proud of the guys. Both Luis and I drove smart and it is great to get another win.”
Luis Diaz: “This has been a great weekend for the team. The guys had a fantastic strategy with Adrian. It was the perfect result for the championship. We knew that it was going to be a tough race for us. I was passed at the start like we thought I would be but we stayed focused and we got a great result – our fifth win for Lowe’s and Acura. This was important especially here for both Acura and Honda. It couldn’t have been more perfect.”