CHAMPCAR/CART: Fernandez sixth, Moreno on provisional grid at Cleveland

CLEVELAND, OHIO - FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2000 -- Round 9 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez is sixth and Roberto Moreno seventh on the grid following Friday's provisional qualifying for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland on the...

CLEVELAND, OHIO - FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2000 -- Round 9 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez is sixth and Roberto Moreno seventh on the grid following Friday's provisional qualifying for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland on the temporary street circuit at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, was fourth after the morning practice session running a time of 59.041 seconds (128.412 mph) around the challenging 2.106-mile Cleveland circuit. In the afternoon qualifying session he ran with the second or "fast" group based on his tenth place qualifying position in Portland. Despite considerably warmer conditions than the morning session, but with a track that was in better shape for racing, Fernandez, like most other drivers improved his time. He ran a fast lap of 58.180 seconds (130.313 mph), almost one second faster than in the morning, but still dropped two places to sixth on the provisional qualifying grid.

"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth ran good this morning and this afternoon. We just need to work more with the car over the bumps to get a better balance. Everybody is very close so we just need to get to the next level and we can challenge for the pole. We are working hard to make the car better for tomorrow and hopefully we will have a good day."

The 35-year-old Mexican, who has been plagued by bad luck for much of the early part of the season, is seeking a reversal of fortune at Cleveland as he attempts to move back into the top-10 in the point's race. He is currently 11th in the championship race with 39 points just eight points out of sixth place. Fernandez has qualified in the top-10 in five of eight races, finished five of eight races, placed in the top-10 four times, including a win in Rio, and in the points five times this year. This will be the seventh time Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has competed at Cleveland. In his six previous races his best qualifying effort is sixth, in 1996. He has finished in the top-10 three times with a best showing of fifth in 1998.

Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, struggled in the morning practice session turning in a time of 60.135 seconds (126.076 mph) placing him 19th on the speed chart. He continued to work on the set-up through the first half of qualifying, he too ran in the second group, then in the waning moments of the session he was able to click off a decent lap. His time of 58.189 seconds (130.293 mph) was almost two full seconds faster than his morning practice time and jumped him 12 places on the grid.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team tried a couple of things in the qualifying session. We changed set-ups from this morning to this afternoon so we still had to fine-tune the car. We were able to do that between the first set of tires and the second set in qualifying. We started on the second set of tires with the pressures to low and they wouldn't come up. So I had to stay out longer and build the pressures up. I lost the best edge off the tire, but the pressures eventually came up and I was able to squeeze a lap at the end. I had to work extra hard to try and get that lap out of the older tires. We know what we need to do for tomorrow to go to the next level and I think we are going to be okay."

Moreno, who is coming off a career best tying second place finish in Portland, leads the FedEx Championship Series standings by one point, 68-67, over fellow Brazilian Gil de Ferran. This is the first time that the 41-year-old Moreno has held the top spot in the point's race in his seven year CART career. Competing in just his third full CART season, and first with Patrick Racing, Moreno will be starting his 70th CART race this weekend. The Weston, Florida resident has finished six of eight races this year, each time in the top-10 including three podium showings, seconds at Miami and Portland and a third in Japan. He has qualified in the top-10 in seven of eight races. Moreno will be racing at Cleveland for the fourth time. His top qualifying position is fifth and his best finish is eighth (1999).

Final qualifying for the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland will begin at 1:45 pm (ET) tomorrow. The race will be run on Sunday, July 2 at 1:00 p.m. (ET) and will be televised live on ABC at 1:00 p.m. (ET)

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno