CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez ready to challenge on the Gold Coast The Champ Car World Series prepares for its final street-course event of the 2003 season with the Lexmark Indy 300 this weekend. The challenging circuit through the streets of Surfers Paradise in ...

Fernandez ready to challenge on the Gold Coast

The Champ Car World Series prepares for its final street-course event of the 2003 season with the Lexmark Indy 300 this weekend. The challenging circuit through the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia, is a popular venue with drivers and fans alike, and attendance figures for this weekend are expected to reach over 300,000 over the course of the four-day event.

Adrian Fernandez, who won the race in 2000, is not alone in hoping that weather will not be a factor this Sunday in the 65-lap run to the checker. Heavy rain contributed to a nine-car incident at the start of last year's race, and Fernandez sustained two thoracic fractures of the T-2 and T-3 vertebrae [below the neck] in the accident. He missed the final two events of the season.

The Lexmark Indy 300, Round 18 of the 19-race 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, will be broadcast live on Speed Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol beginning at 12:30 am ET this Sunday.

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

Will be making his 178th Champ Car career start

Is the 2000 race winner

Recorded an additional podium at Surfers Paradise in 1999, finishing third

Was involved in a multi-car incident at the start of the race last year and was sidelined for the remainder of the season, missing two races due to compression fractures of the T2 and T3 vertebrae

Has made eight starts at Surfers Paradise, claiming his best qualifying effort of fourth in 1994

Career-best street course starting position was pole position in Miami this year

Two of his eight Champ Car career wins were on street courses -- Australia in 2000 and Toronto in 1996

Currently sits eighth in the championship with 104 points

Claimed two podiums to date in 2003 -- first in Portland and second in Long Beach

"I am looking forward to going to Australia. It is a track that I really like, and it will be nice to go back there in one piece since I didn't leave that way last year. We've been strong on the street circuits and should be very strong here. The atmosphere around the event is fantastic, and it is a race that all of us look forward to each year."

FAST FACTS:

Recorded 11 top-10 finishes in 18 rounds of 2003 competition to date-- has qualified seventh or better in nine races to date, claiming his best starting position of pole position at Miami-- is in his 11th season of Champ Car competition and holds eight career wins and four pole positions-- 40 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 ninth in CART all-time career starts-- has 21 Champ Car career podiums to his credit-- last win was at Portland on June 22-- last pole position was at Miami on September 28.

Track Talk

Fernandez Racing Race Engineer Chris Finch estimates a top speed of 185 mph and a minimum speed of 44 mph around the scenic 12-turn, 2.795-mile temporary circuit on the streets of Surfers Paradise. Drivers will shift 40 times per lap throughout the course of the 65-lap race. The maximum lap interval for pit stops is set at 19 laps, requiring a minimum of three stops.

The street circuit has its own style with long straights punctuated by chicanes with large curbing, which drivers seeking the ultimate lap will have to use to the fullest extent. Finch points out the keys to success this weekend: "Surfers is an atypical street circuit. Long straights are coupled by slow to mid-speed chicanes. Depending on circuit design this year, the chicanes can be relatively smooth like last year or incorporate the large curbing as seen in prior years. The car needs to exhibit good power down so as to achieve the top speed required on the straights. If the curbing is more pronounced than last year, then the car needs to jump the curbs well with a good landing after."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Tom Anderson