CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez looking for a change in luck; Nakano set to build on momentum. Adrian Fernandez started the 2002 season with two pole positions and a second-place podium finish in the first four races, proving that his sophomore team was becoming a ...

Fernandez looking for a change in luck; Nakano set to build on momentum.

Adrian Fernandez started the 2002 season with two pole positions and a second-place podium finish in the first four races, proving that his sophomore team was becoming a championship contender. However, two on-track incidents at Laguna Seca and Portland followed by a brake problem in Chicago have kept Fernandez from scoring a single point in the past three events. Fernandez looks to avenge those results in Toronto.

Teammate Shinji Nakano is hoping to build on his results in the past two events. Nakano is coming off his best performance in Champ Cars to date, a fifth-place finish at Chicago where he also led his first laps in the CART series. The team has been steadily coming to grips with its new Honda/Lola combination, and has momentum on its side following Nakano's drive this past weekend.

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

* Will be making his ninth Champ Car appearance at Toronto
* Recorded his first Champ Car career win at Toronto in 1996
* Has finished on the podium in Toronto the past two years -- third in 2001, the first podium finish for Fernandez Racing, and second in 2000
* Posted top-nine finishes in six of eight starts at Toronto
* Best starting position at Toronto was third in 1996
* Has finished over half (59%) of his 46 career street course starts in the points and claimed seven podiums

On Toronto: "I am looking forward to Toronto. It's a good track for us and we are definitely looking for revenge for the last three races. It is one of those circuits where I have always done well in the past, and our expectations are high for another strong performance this weekend. We finished third at Toronto last year and that was the first podium for Fernandez Racing. If you ask me what my most memorable accomplishment in racing has been so far, it was that podium. It really meant a lot. Hopefully we can build on that achievement this weekend."

FAST FACTS: Only owner/driver in current Champ Car field--tied for fourth among active drivers in career wins with seven-- will be making his 153rd Champ Car career start at Toronto, and is ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts-- currently sits 13th in the championship with 28 points-- three of his seven Champ Car career wins were on road/street circuits -- Australia (2000), Mid-Ohio (1998) and Toronto (1996).

Shinji Nakano, Driver -- #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his third Champ Car appearance at Toronto
* Finished ninth last year after starting 26th following a crash in qualifying
* Started 21st in 2000 but retired with an electrical problem and was credited with 14th place
* Posted career best road/street course finish of eighth at Houston (2000); best start was ninth at Detroit (2001)

On Toronto: "I really like the Toronto circuit and the atmosphere around the race is great. It is one of my favorite races. I had a really good car last year, but I made a mistake in qualifying and crashed my primary car. We started last but we finished ninth, and I want to improve on that this year. We just have to work on a good setup like last year and not make any mistakes. We had a good race in Chicago this past weekend, and the motivation for myself and the team is getting higher and higher. We are ready."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 45th career Champ Car start in Toronto-- has made 26 career road/street course starts, claiming seven points paying finishes and two top-10 finishes (Toronto 2001 and Houston 2000)-- is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernandez Racing-- currently sits 17th in the championship with 16 points.

Fernandez Racing Team Notes

Traveling Fans
Shinji Nakano will play host to a group of 30 fan club members this weekend who are making the trip from Japan to attend the Molson Indy Toronto. Members will attend a dinner with Nakano on Friday evening and participate in a fan club meeting at the Fernandez Racing hospitality facility on Saturday.

Around Town
Adrian Fernandez will be making an appearance and signing autographs at Milestone's Grill & Bar on Thursday evening, July 4th, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm with Labatt. Milestone's is located in the heart of the entertainment district at 132 John Street.

Team Member Spotlight
Two Fernandez Racing team members hail from the Toronto vicinity:

* Brad Forth, a sub-assembly technician for the team, is from Lakefield, northeast of Toronto. Forth's background is in electro mechanical engineering. The former deep-sea diver, who performed commercial underwater welding and dynamiting, became involved in racing through his family. His father was the Formula C Canadian champion for several years and also was involved in the construction of the Mosport International Raceway, northeast of Toronto, over 40 years ago.

* Ivan Koldsgaard is from St. Catharines, south of Toronto. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, southwest of Toronto, Koldsgaard holds a mechanical engineering degree and is the shock technician for the team. He has been involved in racing for eight years, and began his career at the Bridgestone Racing School in Shannonville, Ontario, as a mechanic trainee.

Celebrating their birthdays on race day in Toronto are Fernandez Racing team members David Janquart and Robert "Blu" Lindgren. Janquart is a lead mechanic for Nakano and the fueler for the #52 car on race day. He caught the racing bug early while growing up in Elkhart Lake, Wis., near the Road America circuit, and has been involved in racing for 11 years. Lindgren, from Suffern, N.Y., is in his sixth year of racing. He is a lead mechanic for Fernandez and handles the air jack duties during the race. Lindgren became involved in motorsports through the Jim Russell Racing School.

Fernandez Racing Team Stats
Since entering the CART FedEx Championship Series in 2001, Fernandez Racing, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., has claimed two pole positions and three podiums, and has posted five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 27 races contested to date. Fernandez, Tom Anderson, who serves as managing director, and Don Halliday, the team's technical director and the race engineer for Fernandez, are the team owners.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano , Tom Anderson