CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez aims for strong finish to the season; Nakano looks to continue streak. Adrian Fernandez made a solid start to the 2002 schedule, kicking off the season by claiming the pole position at his homeland race in Monterrey, Mexico. By the ...

Fernandez aims for strong finish to the season; Nakano looks to continue streak.

Adrian Fernandez made a solid start to the 2002 schedule, kicking off the season by claiming the pole position at his homeland race in Monterrey, Mexico. By the fourth round, Fernandez sat sixth in the championship. It's the mid-point of the CART FedEx Series Championship that Fernandez would rather forget with five DNF's (did not finish) capped off by a accident in Vancouver which sidelined him for the following race at Mid-Ohio. With six events remaining, Fernandez is looking to breathe new life into a roller coaster year, beginning at Denver.

Shinji Nakano has confidence on his side going into the Denver race weekend after posting a string of points-paying finishes the past eight races dating back to Portland on June 16. Both he and Fernandez have finished in the points at the three previous street course races held this year, with Nakano claiming his best Champ Car career performance of fourth on the Toronto street circuit in July. Gearbox problems while running in sixth position last weekend in Montreal saw his hopes of bettering that finish disappear.

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

"We had a difficult time last weekend, and hopefully we left our frustrations behind in Montreal. I know CART raced at Denver years ago, but that was before I came into the series. I attended a media day in Denver a month ago and had a chance to tour the circuit. I think it is going to be a spectacular race. Denver is a great city and an important market for not only our team but CART as well. We have a lot of fans there and I think they will see a great show. We started out the season strong [Fernandez scored two pole positions and a podium finish in the first four events] and hopefully we can end it strong. Physically, I am getting better day by day after the accident in Vancouver. I am looking forward to proving what this team is capable of on the race track."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 158th Champ Car career start-- only owner/driver in current Champ Car field--currently ranked sixth among active drivers in career wins with seven-- is ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts-- currently sits 15th in the championship with 40 points-- has 48 career street course starts to his credit, finishing half in the top 10-- three of his seven Champ Car career wins were on road/street circuits -- Australia (2000), Mid-Ohio (1998) and Toronto (1996)-- best street course finish this season was eighth at Vancouver-- best street course start this season was seventh at Long Beach.

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

"This is a new track for everybody which means we are all at the same starting point. I have seen a map of the circuit and it looks a little bit like Houston and a little bit like Vancouver. It looks interesting. We've had a good car on the street circuits this year so I think we will have a decent car for the first practice session, which is really important at a new circuit. You can definitely have an advantage if you have a good car for the first outing, which is the way it should go for us this week. I have never been to Denver but I have heard a lot of good things about the city, and I am looking forward to going there."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 51st career Champ Car start -- Has finished in the points the past eight races, dating back to Portland on June 16-- claimed his career-best Champ Car finish of fourth at the Toronto street circuit this year-- best street course start this season was seventh at Toronto-- has made 14 career street course starts, finishing half in the points-- is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernandez Racing-- currently sits 14th in the championship with 43 points.

Fernandez Racing Team News

Track Talk
One of the challenges facing teams and drivers this weekend will be the higher altitude in Denver, the Mile High City. According to Tom Anderson, Co-Owner and Managing Director of Fernandez Racing: "The entire CART field is going to be dealing with new problems with the higher altitude and thinner air. Braking and cooling problems will be tested to their maximum and drivers will have to use an extreme amount of patience in order not to overuse these systems during the weekend. It is going to be an interesting challenge on a road-course configuration."

Trackside
Adrian Fernandez will join his fellow CART drivers at the Shell Grand Prix of Denver Media Day and Luncheon on Thursday, August 29, at 12:30 pm. The event will be held in the Ridgeline Restaurant at the Pepsi Center. Fernandez also will make an appearance at Crocs Mexican Grill from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm that evening. The Labatt/Tecate promotion, which also features the Tecate Girls, is located two minutes from the race track at 1630 Market Street.

Fernandez has teamed with Michel Jourdain Jr. and Mario Dominguez for a Denver-based Three Amigos promotion. Six winners from a local radio promotion will join the trio for breakfast on Friday at 8:00 am at the CART Business Unit located in the Champ Car Paddock. Fernandez will also play host to Labatt/Tecate "Breakfast with Adrian" promotion winners on Saturday at 8:30 am in the Fernandez Racing hospitality facility.

The sixth annual Pro Celebrity Charity Ride, a charity event hosted by the Champ Car drivers, will kick-off on Monday morning, September 2. Fernandez will join Alex Tagliani, Dario Franchitti, Jimmy Vasser, Max Papis, Patrick Carpentier, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan, Dominguez and Jourdain on a ride from Denver to Aspen to benefit the Missionary Vehicle Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado and The Silver Living Foundation. The ride will also feature celebrity participants including Perry King, William Shatner and Christopher McDonald.

Fernandez Racing Team Stats
Since entering the CART FedEx Championship Series in 2001, Fernandez Racing, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., has claimed two pole positions and three podiums. The team has posted six top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes in 32 races contested to date. Fernandez, Anderson and Don Halliday, the team's technical director and race engineer for Fernandez, are the team owners.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Mario Dominguez , William Shatner , Michel Jourdain