Successful Return to Indy for Fernandez INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 29, 2004) -- It had been nine years since Adrian Fernandez turned a lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the IRL IndyCarÂ® Series newcomer was quickly getting up to speed at ...
Successful Return to Indy for Fernandez
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 29, 2004) -- It had been nine years since Adrian Fernandez turned a lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the IRL IndyCar® Series newcomer was quickly getting up to speed at the conclusion of a two-day Open Test in preparation for the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Fernandez made substantial gains in the #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone entry, steadily improving his speed to claim the 12th quickest time in the final practice session this afternoon -- only one mph outside the top six. The 26 drivers on hand for the Open Test battled less than ideal weather conditions, with winds averaging in the 16 to 21 mph range.
Fernandez will be preparing for his third Indy 500 start when official practice activities get underway on Sunday, May 9.
Adrian Fernandez, #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"We had a very, very good test. I am getting very comfortable with the speeds, and obviously it takes time to build up to it as conditions change, the car changes, etc. In general, I am very happy with the performance of the whole team. We are right there. We were 0.6 seconds off the fastest time and the times are very close. Kosuke [Matsuura] was trying some things and I was trying some things, and we made a lot of progress. I feel we will be very competitive. I think we are going to be strong and the Honda engine is going to be very strong. For the first two days, it was a very good test for us.
"It is nice to be back at Indy. It has been a long time since I was here and while I am relearning the track somewhat, a lot of things about this track are quickly coming back to me. I like it. There's a lot of history here, and a lot of familiar faces. I am really looking forward to next month."
Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:
"Adrian is building momentum. He ran the same speed today that Kosuke ran yesterday, and Adrian has had two days here and Kosuke has had three. Indianapolis and the month of May are about building momentum, and a couple of miles-per-hour jump each day are about all we would expect from the engineers and the driver. Any big jumps too often can relate to huge problems and we want to stay away from those. Three drivers experienced that today, and that's the kind of thing we want to stay away from early in the month. Adrian's progress was very good and he is ready for the start of the month. Everybody will be starting more even now that the IRL had this open test. I think it was the right thing to do and compliment them for that decision. The aerodynamics of the car look like it will make for a very, very competitive field and we will probably be looking at a pole position somewhere in the 220 to 221 mph range."