AdriÃ¡n FernÃ¡ndez, Owner/Driver -- ...
Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex
Qualified: 4th 1:43.053 141.411 mph
"First, I have to thank Max [Papis] for helping us last weekend. He's a gentleman and he was here this weekend to take my spot in case I couldn't drive. The car was not very good to start with this morning but we made the right changes. Since then the car has been very good and very consistent. We really didn't do anything to the car between the practice session and qualifying. I feel pretty happy with the car in general, but I feel that I may not be 100 percent yet. Maybe I could have gone a little bit quicker. There are two corners, the Carousel and the Kink, that I feel my hip hurting. It is not a huge hurt, but it is an annoying pain. Overall, I'm very happy. I think the hard work [in therapy] since the accident is paying off big time, and I am just so thankful for all the people that helped me."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his ninth Champ Car appearance at Elkhart Lake and his 156th Champ Car career start^Å has finished on the podium at Elkhart Lake the past three years - third (2001), second (2000), third (1999)^Å has finished in the top six in six of eight starts at Elkhart Lake^Å claimed his best starting position of fifth at Elkhart Lake in 1999 and 2000^Å started 26th in last year's race at Elkhart Lake and finished third^Å only owner/driver in current Champ Car field^Åcurrently ranked fifth among active drivers in career wins with seven^Å is ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts^Å currently sits 13th in the championship with 39 points^Å has 46 career road course starts to his credit, finishing over half in the top 10^Å 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:
Qualified: 11th 1:43.884 140.280 mph
"I had a tough practice session this morning. I had a problem with the car and only had a half hour session. We really didn't have time to work on the setup of the car. We made some changes after the session and when I jumped in the car for qualifying, it was definitely better than this morning. We improved it a lot. We still have some work to do, but basically we are in good shape and we are much better than in Mid-Ohio.
"I am really happy for Adrian. He's back and did very well in qualifying. This is good news for Fernandez Racing and for me as well."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his third Champ Car appearance at Elkhart Lake and his 49th career Champ Car start ^Å finished 15th at Elkhart Lake last year after starting 21st^Å started 23rd at Elkhart in 2000, but retired with a transmission problem and was credited with 21st place^Å has finished in the points the past six events^Å claimed career-best road course finishes this season - 10th at Cleveland and ninth at Mid-Ohio^Å has made 16 career road course starts, claiming four points-paying finishes^Å is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing^Å currently sits 14th in the championship with 37 points.
Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:
"The big comment of the day is the return of one Adrian Fernandez. I think he did an excellent job today. I know he is still hurting a bit, but he is handling the pain and doing a tremendous job. Max is going to have a pretty relaxing weekend because I think Adrian is going to be fine. I am very pleased with the qualifying for both Adrian and Shinji. Fourth and 11th is certainly a lot better than last week. It looks like we are starting to go in the right direction here and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."