LEXINGTON, OHIO - SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 2000 - Round 13 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing's Adrian Fernandez finished sixth while teammate Roberto Moreno place 11th today in the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course...
LEXINGTON, OHIO - SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 2000 - Round 13 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing's Adrian Fernandez finished sixth while teammate Roberto Moreno place 11th today in the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, started 12th, but immediately picked up one place on the opening lap. He moved up two more spots by lap 18 and was running in ninth place going into the first round of pit stops. After a quick stop by the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew Fernandez emerged still running in ninth where he remained until his second stop. Benefiting from outstanding fuel mileage, Fernandez was able to stay out longer than most of the other competitors and then caught a yellow flag just before he was scheduled to pit. With the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew performing at peak efficiency, Fernandez come out in seventh position then got by one other car to take over sixth place. He remained in sixth for the rest of the race despite several attempts at passing on the challenging Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where it is notoriously difficult to overtake.
"At the start of the race I didn't like the balance of the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth. The car was a little loose, but I was still able to make a pass on the first lap. Then we picked up a couple more places when other cars went out. By the end of the first stint the car was really loose. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew made some changes during the first pit stop that helped during the second stint, but it still went a little loose at the end of the run. However, we went the farthest and we got the yellow flag so we were able to pass a couple of cars in the pits. I passed another car on the track and then stayed there for the rest of the race. I tried to pass a few people during the last segment, but just couldn't get by. Overall, I am pleased with our performance today. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team did a good job. We started 12th, but still finished high in the points. We did today what we need to do the remainder of the season...be consistent and finish in the points."
Fernandez, who notched eight points for his sixth place showing, is now fifth in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 87 points. The 35-year-old
Mexican also continued his impressive streak in which he has scored points in 10 of his last 11 races. He is just one point out of fourth place and 12 points out of third. This is Fernandez' highest position in the standings during the 2000 season. He has finished ten of 13 races this year, each time in the points with nine top-10 showings including four top five finishes with a win in Rio
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, had a more difficult day. Starting 15th he advanced to the No. 12 position prior to his first pit stop. Pitting on lap 32 he ran out of fuel three corners before pit road, but was able to coast into his pit box. After fueling the car and changing the tires the team had to restart the engine before Moreno could rejoin the competition. Once back in the contest he was in 19th place. He picked up one place prior to his second stop, but was running one lap off the pace. Misfortune struck a second time when, as he entered pit road for the second stop, the track went yellow. Had the yellow flag come earlier, or he pitted a lap later, it is possible that Moreno could have unlapped himself. As it was, he still managed to pick up five places moving him into 14th place. Several laps later a four-car crash knocked three drivers from the race and moved Moreno into 11th where he remained until the end of the race.
"It was a tough day at the office for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team. In fact the whole weekend was tough. We had a difficult first day, but we started to improve the car in provisional qualifying. Then for final qualifying we had to switch to the back up car. That put us behind. In the race we ran into some bad luck. Our fuel consumption was much greater than we expected and we ran out. We either had a computer or mechanical problem, but we used more fuel and the acceleration was not normal. Fortunately, when we ran out I was close to the pits so I was able to coast into the stop. Then we got unlucky again. On our second stop we came in just as the track went yellow. We might have been able to unlap ourselves if things had gone differently. However, despite all the problems, the Visteon/Patrick Racing team responded well and we were able to recover and finish in the points. I am happy to have gotten points out of this race. We are still in the championship hunt and although we dropped one place in the standings we didn't lose much ground to the leader. We just have to take it race-by-race starting with next weekend at Elkhart Lake."
Moreno is now in third place in the championship race with 100 points. He trails Gil de Ferran by six points and Michael Andretti by 28. The 41-year-old Brazilian, who held the top stop in the championship standings for almost a month before dropping to second place two races ago, has finished nine of 13 races this year, each time in the points. He has placed in the top-10 eight times with four podium showings including his first career CART victory.