CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernández and Nakano looking to overcome challenges of Cleveland circuit. Adrián Fernández has logged just over 1545 miles in a Champ Car at Burke Lakefront Airport since he began racing on the unique airport runway circuit back in 1994. The...

Fernández and Nakano looking to overcome challenges of Cleveland circuit.

Adrián Fernández has logged just over 1545 miles in a Champ Car at Burke Lakefront Airport since he began racing on the unique airport runway circuit back in 1994. The Cleveland track is one of the most exciting on the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule -- wide and flat with few reference points and a less than smooth surface where setup is key.

Fernández posted his best finish of fifth in 1998, while his teammate, Shinji Nakano, has yet to take the checkered flag in Cleveland due to mechanical problems the past two years. Nakano, however, is on a roll, claiming back-to-back career-best finishes the past two weekends (fifth in Chicago and fourth in Toronto) as well as leading his first Champ Car career laps (Chicago) and claiming a career-best road/street course starting position of seventh in Toronto.

Both are hoping to overcome the challenges of the temporary circuit, which hosts its 21st year of Champ Car competition this weekend.

Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his ninth Champ Car appearance at Cleveland

* Recorded his best finish of fifth at Cleveland in 1998 after starting 17th

* Claimed his best starting position of second at Cleveland last year, but retired with a turbo problem

* Has finished half of his eight starts at Cleveland in the top-10

On Cleveland: "Cleveland is so different than any other track. I enjoy driving there. I think it is exciting for the fans and it's exciting for us to drive. The track is so wide that you can invent so many lines to try different things. It is very bumpy and the grip of the track is different to other ones because of the runways. The Lola is definitely reacting different than the Reynard, and we just hope that some of the things we have learned can help us on this track. We had a good car last year but had a mechanical problem in the race. It is a very enjoyable track and we hope to do well there."

FAST FACTS: Only owner/driver in current Champ Car field--tied for fourth among active drivers in career wins with seven-- will be making his 154th Champ Car career start at Cleveland, and is ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts-- currently sits 13th in the championship with 32 points-- three of his seven Champ Car career wins were on road/street circuits -- Australia (2000), Mid-Ohio (1998) and Toronto (1996).

Shinji Nakano, Driver -- #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his third Champ Car appearance at Cleveland

* Started 10th last year but retired with a mechanical problem and was credited with 22nd place

* Started 21st in 2000 but retired with a transmission problem and was credited with 15th place

On Cleveland: "The Cleveland circuit is a special track. It's not like any circuit we run on. I really like the track and hopefully we can find a good setup there like we had in Toronto. This is our first year with the Lola chassis, and we have found a good setup for the street circuits and oval tracks. Now we have to find a good setup for the road courses. Cleveland is unique, but it is more similar to a road circuit than a street course. If we can find a good setup, I think we can do well. We have a good momentum [in the past two races, Nakano has finished in the top five] and I'm looking forward to this weekend."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 46th career Champ Car start in Cleveland-- has made 27 career road/street course starts, claiming eight points-paying finishes including three top-10 results-- is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernandez Racing-- currently sits 16th in the championship with 28 points.

For more information, please visit www.fernandezracing.net.

-fr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano