MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2000 - Round 16 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing driver Adrian Fernandez finished 12th, while teammate Roberto Moreno placed 25th today at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey at...
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA - SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2000 - Round 16 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing driver Adrian Fernandez finished 12th, while teammate Roberto Moreno placed 25th today at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, qualified 17th drove a steady, consistent race. He experienced trouble on both pit stops, stalling on his first pit stop when he avoided a collision with Jimmy Vasser, then getting caught in the wrong position behind the pace car on the second. Despite the two incidents Fernandez battled his way into a points paying finish.
"It was a tough day for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team. We were using the rear tires way too much and that caused the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth to slide. Early in the race I was fighting with Alex Tagliani, I think he was having a problem, and one time he slowed down, then accelerated, I braked to avoid hitting him and that is when Roberto (teammate Roberto Moreno) passed me. On the first pit stop Jimmy Vasser came out right in front of me as I was coming into the pit and we almost had a collision. By trying to avoid him I stalled the car and had to roll into the pits. We lost a few positions getting restarted. On the second pit stop we came in a little to early and didn't catch the pace car at the right time. It was just one of those days. Sometimes you get the breaks, some days you don't. Then it was just a matter of racing to the finish. I think a lot of teams have learned from us. I was surprised so many cars finished without stopping for fuel. In the end we did collect one point and that is good. The whole weekend was pretty difficult for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team so getting a point out this race is good. Hopefully, we will come back strong next weekend."
The 12th place finish, which earned Fernandez one point, continued the remarkable streak that has seen him move from 11th place in the FedEx Championship Series standings into the top five in the points. The 35-year-old Mexican, who is now fourth in the championship race with 118 points, is just four points out of third place and 14 out of first. He has scored points in nine consecutive races with seven top-10 showings. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has finished in the top five in four of his last seven races and in the top six in six of the seven. He has tallied points in 13 of his last 14 starts. The eight-year CART veteran, who is in his third season with Patrick Racing, has finished 13 of 16 races this year (the most of any driver) each time in the points. He has 11 top-10 showings including six top five finishes with four podium appearances and one win. In eight races at Laguna Seca Raceway, Fernandez has only qualified in the top-10 twice, but he has finished in the top-10 four times and in the points seven times.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, started 19th, but was on the move in the early part of the race. He made one of the few passes of the race taking teammate Fernandez on lap 14 and was running in 17th place heading into the first round of pit stops. He picked up one place in the pits then made another pass, taking Christiano da Matta on lap 31. Sitting in 15th place on lap 45, Moreno began dicing with Max Papis for position. After making a move in the treacherous Laguna Seca Raceway corkscrew, which Papis countered with some questionable tactics, he went after Papis again coming down the front straight. Going into turn five the rear end of the car locked up sending the car careening into the wall and ending the day for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team.
"Up in the corkscrew, which is one of the fastest parts of the circuit, Max Papis came out of the corner and made a huge mistake I went around him and he only left me the outside When I went on the outside he squeezed me even farther to the outside of the circuit. If I had not let off it would have been a huge accident. He was having problems so I tried very hard to pass him in front of the pits and then the rear wheels locked up in turn five. That was the end of the day for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team. I am actually fairly happy with today. We struggled with the set-up all weekend, but we had the car working very well for the race. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team did a good job again today and we will continue to fight for this championship."
Moreno, who last week dropped out of the top three in the FedEx Championship Series point standings for the first time since the third race of the season, is now sixth in the standings with 115 points. He is seven points out of third place and 17 out of first. Moreno has now finished in the top-10 in three of his last five races and placed in the points four times. He has finished 11 of 16 races, each time in the points with 10 top-10 showings including six top five finishes and four podium appearances.
Next up for Patrick Racing is the Motorola 300, September 14-17, on the oval at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois.