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Fernandez to Drive No. 5 Chevy at Mexico City

  • Feb 09, 2005

CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 9, 2004) - Lowe’s and Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that Mexican open-wheel racing star Adrian Fernandez will drive the No. 5 Lowe’s/Hitachi Power Tools Chevrolet at the March 6 NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City.

This marks the debut of Fernandez, 41, in NASCAR. The Mexico City native is the country’s most popular driver and one of its most popular athletes.

“I am honored by this opportunity to be part of Lowe’s, Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR,” said Fernandez who plans to test the Lowe’s Chevrolet at an American road course in the coming days.

“I know race fans in Mexico are excited about the race and I think everyone in the sport will see just how many fans there are in Mexico. I have watched NASCAR races on television all of my life and now I get the opportunity to see what it is all about.”

Hendrick Motorsports general manager Marshall Carlson said Fernandez has already visited the race shop to acclimate himself with a full-bodied car for this one-race effort.

“Adrian is a talented race-car driver,” Carlson said.  “We expect him to put on a great show for the wonderful fans in Mexico City.

“Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports enjoys working with Adrian and we’re excited to watch him perform.”

Lowe’s officials said sponsorship of Fernandez in the Mexico City race is an opportunity to align the world’s second largest home improvement retailer with a local hero. Lowe’s also has special promotional plans surrounding Fernandez in several markets.

“Lowe’s is proud to participate in NASCAR’s first race in Mexico with a world-class athlete in Adrian Fernandez,” said Bob Gfeller, Lowe’s senior vice president. “Through the Team Lowe’s Racing program, Lowe’s is able to communicate to a broad range of our home improvement customers.

“We look forward to the big race.”

Fernandez is a familiar name to racing fans.

He began motocross racing at the age of eight in Mexico. He raced open-wheel cars in Mexico and Europe before joining the CART series in 1993 and posting eight career victories and 21 podium finishes through the 2003 season. In 2004, Fernandez’s team joined the Indy Racing League, where he won three races including two of the series’ final three events.

Fernandez is Mexico’s premiere driver. He was nominated for Mexico’s National Sports Award - the 2004 Premio Nacional del Deporte - for his career achievements in auto racing. Fernandez has been the past recipient of numerous awards including “Athlete of the Year” in Mexico.

He was most recently recognized at the Premios Fox Sports Awards for his contributions to Latin American auto racing.

Fernandez joins Kyle Busch, Blake Feese and Boston Reid as drivers of the No. 5 Lowe’s Busch car in 2005. Jim Long serves as the team’s crew chief. This team won the NASCAR Busch Series championship with driver Brian Vickers in 2003 and finished second in points with Busch last season.

Fernandez, Hendrick Motorsports officials, and Lowe’s representatives will unveil the No. 5 Lowe’s / Hitachi Power Tools Chevrolet and meet with the media in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Thursday, Feb. 17.

The 80-lap “Telcel Motorola Mexico 200 Presented by Banamex” at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course marks the first time the NASCAR Busch Series will compete on a road course since the 2001 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

FOX will televise the race live in the United States at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 6.

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