Fernandez to drive in Mexico City race
Lowe's and Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday that Adrian Fernandez will drive the No. 5 Lowe's car in the March 4 Busch Series race in Mexico City.
Fernandez, 43, is Mexico's most popular driver and one of its most popular athletes. He finished 10th and 12th in the first two Mexico City Busch Series races in 2005 and 2006.
"I am honored by this opportunity to once again be part of Lowe's, Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR," said Fernandez, who tested the Busch car in January at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I know race fans in Mexico grow more excited about this race each year. I think this race will continue to grow and prove how popular NASCAR is becoming outside of America."
Hendrick Motorsports general manager Marshall Carlson said Fernandez is growing more familiar with the full-bodied cars of NASCAR and that will show on the track in Mexico City.
"Adrian is a talented racecar driver," Carlson said. "We expect him to put on a great show for the wonderful fans in Mexico City as he has done the last two years. He has been very impressive and we expect the same performance this year. 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 affirm its commitment to Mexico, this following the company's recent announcement to expand into Monterrey by 2009, while continuing to align itself with a talented driver and local personality.
"Lowe's is proud to participate in NASCAR's third race in Mexico with a world-class athlete in Adrian Fernandez," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing and advertising. "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 8 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 IndyCar Series where he won three races including two of the series' final three events.
Fernandez then branched out into NASCAR and sports-car racing. He competed in the Busch Series six times in 2005 and twice in 2006.
Lowe's Fernandez Racing was formed in 2006 and competed in a full season of Daytona Prototype competition in the Grand-Am Series. Lowe's Fernandez Racing will race in the 2007 American Le Mans Series in LMP2 class competition program. Fernandez and co-driver Luis Diaz, also of Mexico, will make their competition debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17.
Fernandez is Mexico's premier 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, and has been recognized at the Premios Fox Sports Awards for his contributions to Latin American auto racing.
Fernandez is more than just a racecar driver. For the fourth time, a national magazine in Mexico has acknowledged his popularity, naming him one of the 300 most influential people in the country. The July 2006 issue of Lideres Mexicanos again placed Fernandez on an accomplished list of his fellow countrymen, joining leaders in numerous categories including science, culture, media, entertainment, sports, politics, public opinion and business.
"I have always worked to promote racing in Mexico," Fernandez said. "I am proud to represent my country and I hope this race in Mexico will become a permanent part of the NASCAR schedule."
The Mexico City race is the only planned appearance for Fernandez in the Hendrick Motorsports car.
The 80-lap Mexico 200 at the 2.518-mile Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course marks one of three Busch Series road course events in 2007. ESPN2 will televise the race live to the United States at 1 p.m. ET on March 4.