HOMESTEAD (March 3, 2000) -- All of the CART FedEx Championship Series teams rolled out their new cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway's Spring Training in early February. Friday, many of the Championship Car teams returned to fine-tune their cars for...
HOMESTEAD (March 3, 2000) -- All of the CART FedEx Championship Series teams rolled out their new cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway's Spring Training in early February. Friday, many of the Championship Car teams returned to fine-tune their cars for the 2000 season opener, the March 24-26 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota.
Defending CART champion Juan Montoya, Jimmy Vasser, Adrian Fernandez, Roberto Moreno, Brett Hedan, Shinki Nakano, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani were among the drivers testing on the 1.5-mile circuit.
For Fernandez, fine-tuning was a welcome change from last year, when Patrick Racing opted to start the year with its '98 Reynard instead of the new Swift they used for their winter testing.
"We're trying to pay more attention to detail in the organization," Fernandez explained. "That's what really got us in trouble last year, and starting out the new season with the same package should help us this year. We didn't really have pre-season testing last year."
Fernandez qualified second in the '99 race at Miami and led the race before retiring with mechanical trouble. He won round two at Japan, but the team struggled through the following races. Once Patrick Racing had the new Reynard sorted out, Fernandez finished the year by scoring points in nine of the final 10 events, winning the season-ending Marlboro 500 at California.
"Preseason is going well," Fernandez said. "We've made some changes on the team that I think are going to help our performance through the year 2000, including a new teammate, Roberto Moreno. We've done extensive work. The team feels more integrated, and I think that is going to help us a lot in the new season.
"Our expectation for the opening race is to try to win it. We were very competitive last year, before we had a mechanical problem. The more we run, the more we learn, we can avoid those types of problems. Definitely, we want to try to start with the right leg, and try to win to start off the season. The competition in the CART series is very strong. There's a lot of new combinations and change of engineers that makes it more interesting to see how the new season is going to be."
Official practice for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota begins on Friday, March 24. Other weekend events include a pair of Toyota Atlantic races plus the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
Reserved grandstand seats for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota are now on sale, beginning at $55, by calling (305) 230-RACE. For additional information, visit the official web site, www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.