HOUSTON, TEXAS - FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2000 - Round 18 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno qualified 13th and Adrian Fernandez 16th on the provisional grid today for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, on the...
HOUSTON, TEXAS - FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2000 - Round 18 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno qualified 13th and Adrian Fernandez 16th on the provisional grid today for Sunday's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston, on the temporary street circuit in Houston, Texas.
Moreno, who is running on the streets of Houston for the first time, was 26th on the practice report with a quick time of 62.937 seconds (87.344 mph) following the Friday morning practice session. During the session, which featured all drivers practicing at one time, Moreno ran his #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth back-up car for the first part of the session. His fastest time in the backup car was 63.435 seconds (86.659 mph) good for 29th overall. Later in the session he switched to his primary car and turned his fastest lap of the morning. In provisional qualifying, Moreno ran with the first or "slow" group based on his 19th place qualifying at the previous road course, Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. He showed tremendous improvement over the morning practice running a fast lap of 60.450 seconds (90.938 mph).
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a big improvement from this morning's practice session to this afternoon's provisional qualifying. We played with the setup of the car and definitely went in the right direction. We took a look at what we have done in the past and applied that to today. I am getting to know the circuit. It is still a little tough for me being my first time on this track. However, I like driving street courses, so for me, learning the track comes pretty easy. I prefer it when the car is really good so I can push a bit more. We are almost there, but not quite. Overall, things are okay for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team and I am looking forward to making another improvement before final qualifying tomorrow."
Moreno moved back into second place in the FedEx Championship Series standings following his third place finish two weeks ago at Gateway International Raceway. With 129 points, he is just eight points out of first place. The 41-year-old Brazilian has been out of the top five in the standings only once this year, after Monterey, and out of the top three, three times (Long Beach, Vancouver and Monterey). He has finished in the top-10 in four of his last six races and placed in the points five times. The Weston, Florida resident has finished 12 of 17 races (tied for fifth), each time in the points with 11 top-10 showings (tied for first) including seven top five finishes (tied for first) and five podium appearances (tied for second) with one victory (tied for sixth). Moreno has qualified in the top-10 in nine of 17 races and five of nine road/street circuits. This will be the first time that Moreno has raced on the streets of Houston.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, ended this morning's practice 14th on the practice report with a fast time of 61.778 seconds (88.983 mph). He, like his teammate, ran his back-up car for the first portion of the practice turning a fast lap of 62.170 seconds (142.271 mph) the 18th fastest time of the session. After switching to his primary car for the remainder of practice during he ran his quickest lap of the morning session. In provisional qualifying, Fernandez went out in his backup car with the first or "slow" group based on his 17th place qualifying position at Laguna Seca. His fastest lap was 60.717 seconds (90.538 mph).
"Today was a little bit frustrating for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team. For some reason the first car (backup) felt good this morning, but then we changed to the primary car and it wasn't as good. In qualifying we ran the backup car, but I had a lot of traffic and I couldn't take advantage after I got the tires up to pressure. We were also fighting a push (oversteer) problem with the car. Hopefully, we can learn some things from Roberto (Moreno) and improve for tomorrow's final qualifying."
Fernandez, who is working on a streak of 10 consecutive finishes in the points, is currently fifth in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 121 points. He is just six points out of third place and 16 out of first. The 35-year-old Mexican has placed in the top-10 in eight of his last ten races. He has finished in the top six in six of his last eight races with four top five showings and three podiums. Fernandez has tallied points in 14 of his last 15 starts. He has finished 14 of 17 races this year (the most of any driver) each time in the points. Fernandez has 12 top-10 showings (tied for first) including six top-five finishes (tied for fourth) with four podium appearances (tied for fifth) and one win (Rio - tied for sixth). The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has qualified in the top-10 in eight of 17 races and five of nine road/street circuits. He is competing in Houston for the third time. In his previous two starts his best qualifying position is tenth (1999) and his best finish is sixth (1998).
Final qualifying for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston will begin at 1:45 pm (CT) tomorrow. The race will be run on Sunday, October 1 at 3:0o p.m. (CT) and will be televised live on ABC.
For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).