CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Bridgestone race report

Stellar tire performance keys Fernandez's 1st win as driver/owner Adrian Fernandez chased that elusive first Champ Car victory as a driver/owner for more than two seasons. The sensational performance of the Bridgestone Potenza race tires, even...

Stellar tire performance keys Fernandez's 1st win as driver/owner

Adrian Fernandez chased that elusive first Champ Car victory as a driver/owner for more than two seasons. The sensational performance of the Bridgestone Potenza race tires, even in damp conditions caused by intermittent light rain, helped the popular Mexican achieve it today.

Relying on the unsurpassed grip of the Potenzas, Fernandez drove past Paul Tracy and into the lead on the 86th of 100 laps. Fernandez then put the tires to the test again when he laid down his fastest laps of the race in the Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola, pulling away to a 2.273-second victory. It is the eighth career victory for the 11-year veteran of Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, all with the Bridgestone/Firestone family of race tires, but his first since starting his own race team in 2001.

"We found something for the future the way we managed our tires," Fernandez said. "The last set of tires was fantastic and it was a big difference. The Bridgestone tires performed excellent throughout the whole stints. Like anything else, you can make them worse or you can make them better, and I think we learned today how to make them better."

Runner-up Tracy was equally pleased. Knowing he'd be assessed a five-second penalty on an upcoming pit stop for an earlier infraction, Tracy put the hammer down in his Team Players Ford/Lola/Bridgestone trying to stretch his race advantage. "I needed to pull out a lead and the Bridgestones were great today," Tracy said. "I had to really push hard that second stint and I leaned on them for probably 15 laps, and the tires did great."

Alex Tagliani equaled his season-best finish by placing third in the Johnson Controls Ford/Lola/Bridgestone, and was highly complimentary of the Bridgestone tires as well. "We had all kinds of conditions today and the tires were really working well," Tagliani said. "Even though we had some little sprinkles of rain during the race, it was still good to run on slicks. My tires were always very good toward the end of every run. I wish we would've had a set-up that would have worked the tires harder. They were definitely good for long runs."

Quote from Joe Barbieri, Project Supervisor, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Congratulations to Adrian and all of Fernandez Racing. As longtime loyal supporters of our racing efforts, we're pleased to see them take their first victory today. There was much guessing on car set-ups prior to the race, but the Bridgestone tires held up well all day no matter which set-up the teams chose. The dry-condition tires continued to deliver a fine performance even when the track was damp. Some speculated there might be a tire performance drop near the end of full stints in the race, but that was not the case. No fewer than seven drivers ran their fastest race laps within five laps of the finish when all the tires had more than 20 laps on them. That speaks for itself. We even ran the rain tires in this morning's warm-up and all the teams were confident the wet-weather Potenzas would have worked fine in the race if needed."

Race temperatures ranged from 78 to 82 degrees track and from 66 to 67 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 26 to 28 degrees track and from 19 to 20 degrees ambient (C).

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy