AdriÃ¡n FernÃ¡ndez, Owner/Driver -- ...
Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
Morning Session: 24th 32.695 223.410 mph
Afternoon Session: 9th 32.008 228.206 mph
Combined: 10th Overall
"Both of our cars ran well this afternoon but it is hard to know where everybody is because of the draft. The race is going to be so close because everyone is towing each other and everyone seems pretty comfortable in the draft. For me, the main thing is to make it to the end and, if we can do that, I think we are going to be in good shape. This morning, Shinji and I both lost an engine so we didn't have many laps and had to catch up this afternoon with tires and everything. I feel I have a car that can run with everybody. I wouldn't say it's the fastest, but I can hold my own."
FAST FACTS: Is the only owner/driver in the current CART field.... will be making his 145th career Champ Car start at Fontana .... his best oval start in 2001 was third at Chicago.... best oval finish to date this season was fifth at Milwaukee.... his best road/street course start in 2001 was second at Cleveland.... his best road/street course finish this year was third at Toronto and Elkhart Lake.... recorded his last win at the 2000 Honda Indy 300 in Australia^Åhas seven career Champ Car wins^Åfinished second in the championship last season.... tied for fourth most-winning driver in the current CART field.
Shinji Nakano, #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
Morning Session: 26th 32.740 223.103 mph
Afternoon Session: 5th 31.909 228.914 mph
Combined: 6th Overall
"Everything went well today and the car was getting better and better towards the end of the session. This morning I had a lot of problems with push. This afternoon we worked on race setup and I think we found a pretty good setup for the race. We also did a run at the end of the session with low fuel and the balance was good. We still have too much downforce but for tomorrow, I think today was a good start."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 37th career Champ Car start at Fontana ^Å his best oval qualifying in 2001 was fifth at Texas^Åbest oval finish to date this season was eighth in Motegi.... his best road/street course start in 2001 was ninth at Detroit.... his best road/street course finish this year was ninth in Toronto.... is in his sophomore season of Champ Car competition with four top-10 finishes to his credit^Åhas the benefit of a teammate for the first time in his CART career^Åhails from Formula One with 33 F1 starts and nine top-10 finishes in two years of competition.
Tom Anderson, Owner/Team Manager: "All in all I'm very pleased with today. It's very difficult to assess how everybody is other than the fact that the majority of the cars, including spare cars, were covered by eight-tenths of a second. That shows you that it is going to be a very competitive race. I think it is going to be a duplication of what we saw at Michigan this year. It's anybody's race. With the 500's, attrition is always a consideration so we want to be careful during the race because there is going to be a lot of close racing. Qualifying is not really important. The pole is prestigious and you get a point, but in reality you can be on the back row of this grid and win the race with basically what we now call the Handford Mark 1A. It's the original Mark 1 Handford that we ran here last year with the additional extension of a three-inch plate on the bottom of the wing. It's going to be interesting and it's going to be a good race. I'm looking forward to it."