CHAMPCAR/CART: Miami: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernández ready for racing action to resume in Miami The Champ Car World Series rolls into the heart of downtown Miami, Florida, this weekend for the "Blast by the Bay" - the Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com - at scenic Bayfront...

Fernández ready for racing action to resume in Miami

The Champ Car World Series rolls into the heart of downtown Miami, Florida, this weekend for the "Blast by the Bay" - the Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com - at scenic Bayfront Park on Biscayne Bay. Round 16 of the 19-race Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will be held on a 1.15-mile temporary street circuit, a challenging playing field as the battle for position within the championship intensifies with only four rounds remaining.

Adrian Fernandez is ready to return to racing action after more than a three-week break in the schedule, and is looking to expand on the team's strong performance in the last event at Denver. Fernandez is no stranger to success on the street course venues. In addition to his two wins at Toronto (1996) and Australia (2000), Fernandez scored his eighth career street course podium earlier this season with a second-place run at Long Beach.

The 135-lap/155.25-mile Grand Prix Americas Presented by Sportsbook.com will be broadcast on CBS this Sunday at either 1:00 pm ET live or 4:30 pm ET tape-delay depending upon the market. [A complete coverage breakdown is available at http://www.champcarworldseries.com.] The race also will be broadcast live on Fox Sports en Espanol beginning at 1:00 pm ET.

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his 176th Champ Car career start
* Started ninth at Miami last year and finished seventh
* Best 2003 street course start was third in St. Petersburg; best finish was second in Long Beach
* Career-best street course starting position to date is second at Denver last year
* Two of his eight career wins were on street circuits - Toronto in 1996 and Australia in 2000
* Currently sits seventh in the championship with 92 points
* Claimed two podiums to date in 2003 - first in Portland and second in Long Beach

"We are very optimistic about Miami especially after our good performance throughout the weekend of Denver. We also had a very good test in Sebring recently [September 10], so I am looking to close the last four races of the season very strongly. Miami is a place where we have a lot of fans and friends. The atmosphere downtown has always been fantastic and this year should be even better than last year."

FAST FACTS: Recorded nine top-10 finishes in 15 rounds of 2003 competition to date-- has qualified seventh or better in eight races to date, claiming his best starting position of third in St. Petersburg and Portland-- has finished over 53% percent of his 55 Champ Car career street course starts in the top 10-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with eight career wins and three pole positions-- 40 years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernández Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson-- only competing owner/driver in the series-- is the third most-winning driver in the current Champ Car field-- ranked ninth in CART all-time career starts-- has 21 Champ Car career podiums to his credit-- last win was at Portland on June 22-- last pole position was at Milwaukee in 2002.

Track Talk

The 15-turn, 1.15-mile temporary street circuit has been modified from its original design last year - the first year of Champ Car World Series racing action on the streets of downtown Miami since 1995. Fernandez Racing Race Engineer Chris Finch estimates top speeds of 167 mph with minimum cornering speeds around 32 mph. Drivers will shift 20 times per lap throughout the course of the 135-lap race. The maximum interval for pit stops is set at 50 laps, requiring a minimum of two stops.

The tight, twisty circuit will present its share of challenges as Finch notes: "The revised street circuit makes the course distance shorter by 0.2 miles from last year [1.379 miles to 1.15 miles in length]. The sealed parking section has been removed, so this should enable the track to be more consistent as it will build grip more evenly. Similar to Denver, the driver must exhibit patience and let the circuit come to him as more rubber is laid down on the race track. Being too aggressive on the first day could yield a high level of frustration for both engineer and driver. The initial car setup will be to maximize grip while maintaining good rear-end stability through the corners leading to the fountain on the back stretch."

New Qualifying Procedures

Single-car qualifying will again go into effect for the race this weekend. Friday's provisional qualifying will be a one-hour session with the qualifying order based on the reverse order of the combined practice times. Saturday's final qualifying session order will be the reverse order of Friday's provisional qualifying results. Drivers will be given a maximum of five laps for their qualifying run - an untimed out-lap, a maximum of three timed laps, and an untimed in-lap. Friday's provisional polesitter will earn a championship point and is guaranteed a front row starting position.

Around Town

Prior to this weekend's trackside activities, Adrian Fernandez will be making an appearance and signing autographs at the Gus Machado Ford Dealership in Hialeah this Wednesday from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Fernandez will attend the Mexican Consulate of Miami Reception at the Mexican Cultural Institute on Thursday evening. The event begins at 7:00 pm.

*Broadcast on Speed Channel beginning at 8:00 pm ET.

For more information, please visit www.fernandezracing.net. For additional information on the Champ Car World Series, please visit www.champcarworldseries.com.

-fr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Tom Anderson