CHAMPCAR/CART: Fernandez receives award in Miami

INDIANAPOLIS (December 18, 2003) -- Winner of Round 9 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford earlier this year in Portland, Mexico's ever-popular Adrian Fernandez ( ...

INDIANAPOLIS (December 18, 2003) -- Winner of Round 9 of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford earlier this year in Portland, Mexico's ever-popular Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was recognized last night at the Premios Fox Sports Awards in Miami. The inaugural gathering of some of today's biggest names in the worlds of sports and entertainment honored the achievements of U.S. Hispanic and Latin American athletes for the first time.

The author of eight-career wins and the Champ Car World Series' only current owner/driver received a special award in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to the world of motorsports." Revered as one of his country's most recognizable athletes with strong backing from sponsors Tecate, Quaker State and Telmex, Fernandez led a contingent of six Latino drivers competing for the Vanderbilt Cup in 2003.

"The award they presented to me means a lot," said Fernandez. "To be recognized for helping others is a great reward for the efforts in my career, and I just hope it keeps building for our new generations in the future."

In addition to the special award, Fernandez was also one of five nominees in the Most Outstanding Latin American Motor Sport Driver category. Other nominees included fellow Champ Car drivers Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Team Rahal, Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Herdez Competition, and rookie Rodolfo Lavin (#5 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) of Walker Racing, as well as 1999 Champ Car titlist and current Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya, who was presented with the award. Montoya was the evening's only two-award winner, as he also was named "Athlete of the Year."

Other honorees on the night included Chicago White Sox pitcher Esteban Loaiza (Latin American Baseball Player of the Year); San Antonio Spurs guard Emmanuel Ginobili (Latin American Basketball Player of the Year); Rolex Rookie of the Year, golfer Lorena Ochoa (Female Latin American Golfer of the Year); Boca Juniors forward Carlos Alberto Tevez (Latin American Soccer Player of the Year); and golfer Carlos Franco (Latin American Golfer of the Year). In total, more than 20 athletes were honored in their respective sports for their outstanding performance over the past year.

"The evening was a great recognition for all Latin athletes," said Fernandez. "I have been able to meet a lot of athletes that I had not met before. This initiative by Fox Sports rewards the efforts that everyone puts into their sport. It is really nice that they do this for Latin athletes."

The awards show will be televised this Sunday, December 21st at 10:00 pm ET on Fox Sports en Espanol and will reach more than 17 million households across the Americas. Fox Sports Latin America will also carry the event, broadcasting throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Series INDYCAR