Round 6 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing experienced mixed results during todayâ€™s qualifying session for Sundayâ€™s Miller Lite 225 at The Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Roberto Moreno drove the ...
Round 6 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing experienced mixed results during today’s qualifying session for Sunday’s Miller Lite 225 at The Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Roberto Moreno drove the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth to the seventh starting position, while teammate Adrian Fernandez qualified 19th after using all of his considerable skill to save the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth from hitting the wall.
Moreno, who began the day 16th on the combined speed charts with a time of 21.855 seconds following Friday’s two practice sessions, served notice during the Saturday morning practice that his car was vastly improved. Driving the back-up car, which he ran for about ten minutes the previous day, Moreno drove a quick lap of 21.083 moving him into ninth place overall. In qualifying he did not improve his time, running a fast lap of 21.096, but did improve his position moving up an additional two places and will start on the inside of Row #4. Moreno, who earned his highest starting position in six attempts on The Milwaukee Mile, has now qualified in the top-10 in five of six races this year (seventh at Miami and Nazareth, eighth in Long Beach, 12th at Rio and a season high fourth at Motegi, seventh here at Milwaukee).
“I am very very pleased with my qualifying run. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth was better than yesterday. We struggled a little bit yesterday. My engineer Ed Nathman and I worked very late last night and we came up with a good set-up. Unfortunately, we needed a little more fine-tuning. We had a little bit of a push on the qualifying run, but I am quite pleased that we moved up from yesterday,” said Moreno.
The talented Brazilian, who is tied for third in the FedEx Championship Series standings with Gil de Ferran, 42 points, has established himself as a championship contender during his first season with Visteon/Patrick Racing. Moreno has finished in the top ten in four of the five races contested this year including two top three showings. He was a CART career best tying second at Miami, 14th at Nazareth, ninth at Long Beach, sixth at Rio and third in Japan.
The Weston. Florida resident will be looking to continue his strong early season record tomorrow on the one-mile Milwaukee oval where his best finish, in five attempts, is a tenth place showing in 1997.
“The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has been good in the races all year. We have good race strategy and the crew does a great job on the pit stops. We try to improve every time out and we are still learning and growing together. If we had started with today’s set-up yesterday we would have been fighting for the pole. I will take what we have today and we’ll work hard tomorrow,” Moreno said.
Fernandez had a much more nerve racking qualifying effort. The personable Mexican, who ended Friday’s practice session sixth on the combined speed charts with a time of 21.588 seconds, made a big gain in terms of time during the morning practice session running a 20.993, but did not improve his position. He began his qualifying effort with four strong warm-up laps, but then on the first of his two qualifying laps, as he was exiting Turn #4 the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing entry lost its back end. Utilizing his tremendous driving talent he reacted quickly and saved the car before it could spin out of control. However, the effort cost him time on that first lap and the momentum need for a fast second lap. His final qualifying time was 21.399, which places him on the inside of Row #10.
“The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth was loose. I was trying to get the power down early and the car jumped. Unfortunately, it was my first qualifying lap and we lost a lot of momentum which hurt the entire qualifying run,” said Fernandez.
The 19th place starting position is Fernandez’ lowest of the year and continues a mixed bag of qualifying results. He started third at Miami, ninth at Nazareth, fourth in Long Beach, 18th at Rio and 15th in Motegi. In addition it continues a string of low qualifying efforts in Milwaukee which has seen Fernandez qualify 17th or worse six times in eight attempts.
The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident, who is currently fifth in the championship standings with 33 points, will be looking to add to a string of three straight top-10 finishes in tomorrow’s race. After failing to finish the first two races of the season, due to mechanical problems, Fernandez earned his sixth career CART victory with a win at Rio, finished tenth in Japan and placed fifth at Nazareth. His best showing at Milwaukee fifth achieved last year.
The Miller Lite 225 will be run on Sunday, June 4 at 3:00 p.m. (local time) and will be televised live on ABC at 4:00 p.m.