CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez ready for challenges of G.I. Joe's 200. The Champ Car World Series makes its second stop on a back-to-back West Coast race tour in Portland, Oregon, this weekend for the G.I. Joe's 200. Round Eight of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ...

Fernandez ready for challenges of G.I. Joe's 200.

The Champ Car World Series makes its second stop on a back-to-back West Coast race tour in Portland, Oregon, this weekend for the G.I. Joe's 200. Round Eight of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford marks the 20th anniversary of Champ Car racing on the 1.969-mile permanent road course which began hosting the CART series in 1984.

Adrian Fernandez will be making his 52nd Champ Car road course start this weekend and is looking to improve on a career-best finish of fourth at Portland. The team made substantial gains on its setup for the 10-turn circuit during a two-day test on April 15/16 which saw Fernandez among the quickest of 10 drivers at the outing. [Best lap time was 58.6 seconds.]

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his 10th Champ Car appearance at Portland

* Has finished in the points in six of nine starts at Portland

* Best finish at Portland was fourth in 1999; best starting position was fifth in 1999

* Qualified 15th last year but finished 14th after contact on Lap 87

* Currently sits eighth in the championship standings with 43 points

* Career best road-course finish was a win at Mid-Ohio in 1998

* Career best road-course start was pole position at Monterrey, Mexico, last year

"We had a good test at Portland in April and I am looking forward to this weekend. There have been a few little things that have kept us from finishing in the top four the last few races, and we are looking forward to putting it together this weekend. Tecate is the official import beer of the race and we will have a lot of guests here. We hope to bring them a good result."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 168th Champ Car career start-- recorded four top-seven finishes in seven rounds of 2003 competition to date -- second at Long Beach, fourth in Monterrey, Mexico, sixth in Milwaukee and seventh at Laguna Seca-- has qualified seventh or better in all but one race to date [Germany], claiming his best starting position of third in St. Petersburg-- has finished over 50 percent of his 50 Champ Car career road course starts in the top 10-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with seven career wins and three pole positions-- 38 years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernandez Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson-- only competing owner/driver in the series-- is the third most-winning driver in the current Champ Car field-- ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts-- has 20 Champ Car career podiums to his credit-- last win was at Australia in 2000-- last pole position was at Milwaukee in 2002-- looking for his first win as an owner/driver-- the last win by an owner/driver was in 1992 when Bobby Rahal won at Nazareth.

Track Talk
The 1.969-mile permanent road course comprises 10 turns and the tricky Festival Curves, providing a blend of slow and medium speed corners on a flat, smooth track and plenty of challenges for drivers and engineers. Fernandez Racing Race Engineer David Watson notes that understeer is often an issue. Watson estimates a top speed of 179 mph and minimum speeds around 38 mph. Drivers will be shifting an average of 20 times per lap and will reach 3.2 lateral G-forces through the turns with -2.9 G-force under braking. The race is scheduled for 100 laps (or a maximum of two hours and 10 minutes) with the maximum lap interval for pit stops set at 28 laps, requiring a minimum of three stops.

Tecate Stars at Portland
Tecate, long-time sponsor of Adrian Fernandez, has signed on as the official import beer of the G.I. Joe's 200. Tecate is also the official beer sponsor of the Long Beach and Mexico City races and co-title sponsor of the Monterrey Grand Prix. Distributed by Labatt USA, Tecate is the fourth largest import beer in the United States and the number one selling import in a can.

Trackside
Adrian Fernandez will begin his G.I. Joe's 200 activities with the Ford Racing Fan Appreciation Night this Wednesday from 6:15 pm to 8:00 pm at Rose Garden Arena in downtown Portland. Fernandez will be joined by fellow Champ Car drivers Oriol Servia, Mario Dominguez, Geoff Boss, Bruno Junqueira, Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Tagliani and Mario Haberfeld for autographs and question and answer sessions.

On Thursday, Fernandez will participate in the G.I. Joe's 200 Media Lunch, beginning at 12:00 pm trackside in Chalet Village.

Fernandez will take part in the El Hispanic News/Hispanic Chamber Reception at the track on Friday evening, beginning at 5:30 pm, and will make an appearance at the Ultimate Birthday Party -- the 20th Anniversary Party of the G.I. Joe's 200 -- held at Fernando's Hideaway [824 SW 1st Street] at 7:00 pm.

-fr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Alex Tagliani , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , Tom Anderson , Geoff Boss