All eyes on Adrian Fernandez

first_img Last year, Fernandez added to his success at the track by winning the IRL race. His current resume also includes victories as a car owner, the latest last Sunday in Kentucky by Scott Sharp. Fernandez was back at the track earlier this week, in a totally different role. The veteran Mexican driver was not pushing a 1,200-pound open-wheel car around the track, but a 3,500-pound NASCAR Busch Series Chevrolet in preparation for the Sept. 3, 300-mile race at the track. It’s the same for Lowe’s. Jimmie Johnson is the company’s poster boy, but Fernandez could open the door for a new demographic for the chain. NASCAR inspires loyalty, and Lowe’s believes Fernandez can be a pied piper of sorts in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida. That certainly would be great for Hendrick, which has Fernandez for five Busch races. It was supposed to be a one-off deal in the Busch race at Mexico City, but extended to include Busch races at Fontana, Phoenix, Texas and Miami. Hendrick isn’t entering the four races expecting Fernandez to win. The organization hopes Fernandez can be consistent, finish in the top 20 and improve each time. To achieve that, Fernandez spent two grueling days in the car. Instead of air conditioning, the car was loaded with telemetry. It provided data Fernandez and crew chief Jim Long poured over. It all was a new experience for Fernandez. At one point, he thought he was off the throttle, only to find he was was only half off. The tires fell off with each lap, it took more effort to steer the car and aerodymanic issues were altogether different. There is still much to learn, like driving in traffic and drafting. Long is confident his driver can learn to deal with it, as is Fernandez. After all, he’s not a rookie. The stakes are high for NASCAR, Lowe’s, Hendrick and Fernandez in the Busch race. Perhaps not as much as Martin Truex Jr.’s drive for the championship, but enough that many eyes will be on Fernandez once again. Louis Brewster covers motor racing. His column appears Thursday. He can be reached at (909) 483-9363 or [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Although he has nothing to prove, Fernandez is not taking this assignment lightly. In two days of testing at Fontana, he logged more than 400 laps in an attempt to learn as much as possible about his Lowe’s-sponsored ride. The session was more – much more – than just getting comfortable behind the wheel. NASCAR is banking on Fernandez, as is Lowe’s. Hendrick Motorsports, the same outfit that fields cars for Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, also has a big stake in the project. For the sanctioning body, Fernandez represents a great opportunity to introduce the Hispanic population to stock car racing. Fernandez is an icon in Mexico, and among Hispanics on both sides of the border. His test session warranted coverage on the front page of a Mexico City newspaper on Tuesday. center_img Adrian Fernandez knows his way around California Speedway in a race car. He’s reached speeds in excess of 250 mph at the track, one year in front of 100,000 fans. He has experienced the highs and lows of the sport at Fontana, all in one afternoon. His victory in the 1999 CART Marlboro 500 was overshadowed by the death of Gregg Moore in the same race. last_img read more

R460-million for housing for Marikana miners

first_img30 June 2014 The North West provincial government has set aside over R460-million for housing projects in the platinum mining area of Marikana, as South Africa looks to push through a raft of measures aimed at ensuring long-term stability in the country’s mining industry. Delivering his State of the Province address in Mafikeng on Friday, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said his administration would pay special attention to the troubled mining area over the next three years.R47-million spent acquiring land “As part of our contribution to development in the mining areas, we have set aside R462-million for housing projects in the Bojanala District in the Rustenburg Municipality, specifically in Marikana.” The provincial government, in partnership with mining company Lonmin and the Rustenburg Local Municipality, will build 2 000 housing units over a period of three years. “The project, which will start with immediate effect, is called Marikana Ext 2 Integrated Development,” Mahumapelo said, adding that the government had also spent R47-million buying land for housing projects from private owners. According to Mahumapelo, the Sunway Village Integrated Development Project in Madibeng is already under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the current financial year. “This project targets the nearby informal settlements of Popo Molefe, Ten Room, Rietfontein, and Cosmos.”Measures to restore labour stability President Jacob Zuma last week welcomed the conclusion of a five-month long strike in South Africa’s platinum mining industry. “A long protracted strike was no longer in the interests of the parties involved or the country at large,” Zuma said, adding that the government looked forward to working with mining companies and unions to implement measures “to revitalise mining towns and restore labour stability in the sector”. In his State of the Nation address earlier this month, Zuma said the government would push for the implementation of the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry that was agreed on by labour, business and government last year. Zuma said he would take over this process himself, to ensure that the government implemented its undertaking, as part of the agreement, to build housing and other services to revitalise mining towns, with a focus on the mining areas of Motlosana, Emalahleni, Sekhukhune, Lephalale, West Rand and Matjhabeng. At the same time, the government would pressure mining companies to meet their Mining Charter targets in order to improve the lives of mineworkers. “Companies are expected to convert or upgrade hostels into family units, attain the occupancy rate of one person per room and also facilitate home ownership options for mine workers,” Zuma said, adding: “We urge the companies to meet the 2014 deadline for these targets and extend this right to dignity to mine workers.” Source: read more