Photo by John Thawley It was an all too short day for Lowe's Fernandez Racing and drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz at Lime Rock Park this afternoon. A mechanical problem sidelined the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola at the 45-minute mark of the Northeast Grand Prix. Diaz started the race in sixth position and was running seventh overall and sixth in the LMP2 class when the team noticed smoke coming from the car. Diaz pitted the following lap [Lap 51] and a left rear suspension failure was discovered -- a pushrod mounting stud had pulled out of the bellhousing casing.
Lowe's Fernandez Racing will be looking for better fortune in two weeks time when the American Le Mans Series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Acura Sportscar Challenge of Mid-Ohio. The team is a past winner on the Lexington, OH, circuit with a victory in Grand-Am competition last year.
Adrian Fernandez, #15 Lowe's Acura Lola:
"It was a disappointing end to the day. The car was not as strong as we wanted, but Luis was making some gains. The problem started around 20 laps before, halfway through the time that the car was on track because Luis had a very loose car -- different conditions with the rear of the car. We think the problem was already starting to happen then. Even with that, we were catching the Dyson [Racing] car in front of us. Things were encouraging but, unfortunately, mechanical problems happen. This was a terminal problem. We couldn't fix it properly. We had a lot of fan support for the race and it was unfortunate that we couldn't put on a show for the fans and Lowe's and Acura. We will be back strong for Mid-Ohio."
Luis Diaz, #15 Lowe's Acura Lola:
"The car felt competitive but the traffic was bad in the first 10 to 20 laps. It was hard to pass people. We held on to the lead group for a little bit but then we had bad luck with traffic. We had problems with the radio from the beginning and I wasn't able to communicate with the team. They did a good job in telling me the information that I needed to know. Unfortunately, the suspension broke. I thought we could finish pretty strong, in the top four or top three."