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Fernandez Takes Wheel of No. 5 Chevy Again

 

This fall Team Lowe’s Racing and open-wheel star Adrian Fernandez will partner once again in the NASCAR Busch Series. Fernandez and the team are slated to run Sept. 3 at California Speedway, Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway, Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway and at Nov. 19 Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The 42-year old driver made his NASCAR debut earlier this season in the Lowe’s machine when the Busch Series traveled south of the border to his native Mexico. The country’s most popular driver piloted the No. 5 Chevrolet to a 10th-place finish at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez in Mexico City.

“Mexico was a very enjoyable opportunity and I managed to meet the team and work with them for a short period of time,” Fernandez said. “The test went really well and I had just one day of getting used to the car and then I went to Mexico and really found my way around there.”

Fernandez will make his first start in a stock car on an oval track Labor Day weekend in Fontana, Calif. In 2004, the he won California Speedway’s Indy Racing League event and also went to Victory Lane in the series’ Chicago and Kentucky races.

At age 8, Fernandez began motocross racing and later raced open-wheel cars in Mexico and Europe before joining CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams)  in 1993. While in CART, he posted eight career victories and 21 podium finishes during the 10 years he competed in the league before joining the IRL in 2004.
The Mexican driver will have to adjust to the handling differences between the open-wheel cars he is used to driving and the No. 5 Lowe’s Chevy.

“In our cars (open wheel), reactions are in fractions of a second. Here you do have more time, so in that respect it plays to your advantage,” Fernandez said. “In terms of driving the car moves a lot more than our cars. So you do have more time to think about it.”

Even though this March marked the first time NASCAR stock cars raced south of the border in Mexico, the Latin American country is no stranger to this type of racing. Stock car racing is alive and well in Mexico where the Desafio Corona, or “Corona Challenge,” is run across the country from March through November. The series runs Chevrolet and Ford machines and the teams are sponsored by companies such as FedEx, GM Parts, Tel Mex, Motorcraft, Squirt and Nextel Comex.

NASCAR’s Mexico race proved to be popular with the fans and Fernandez hopes the American series will grow in popularity in his native land.

“I think you will have a lot of people following us and learning more about NASCAR,” Fernandez said. “I think it’s going to be quite a transition for them, but I think it is going to be quite good.”

You can catch Fernandez and Team Lowe’s Racing on NBC and TNT this fall. The broadcast schedule is as follows:

Sept. 3 California Speedway NBC-4 p.m. ET
Nov. 5 Texas Motor Speedway TNT – 2 p.m. ET
Nov. 11 Phoenix International Raceway TNT – 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 19 Homestead-Miami Speedway TNT – 4 p.m.

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