IRL: Chicagoland: FR, Fernandez race report

Fernandez Wins Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Adrian Fernandez claimed his second IRL IndyCar® Series win today with his victory in the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. Fernandez, who made his first career start on the 1.5-mile oval,...

Fernandez Wins Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland

Adrian Fernandez claimed his second IRL IndyCar® Series win today with his victory in the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. Fernandez, who made his first career start on the 1.5-mile oval, lost the lead and fell to the back of the field after his second pit stop [Lap 89] when the air jack mechanism in his #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate machine failed. Fernandez rebounded to claim his 10th major open-wheel win. Fernandez, who qualified 10th for today's 200-lap race, has won two out of the last four IRL events [Kentucky Speedway on August 15] and also added a second-place result at Pikes Peak on August 22. He earned an additional three points today for leading the most laps with 83, and has moved up to sixth place in the championship standings -- only one point out of fifth and 14 points out of fourth.

Adrian Fernandez, #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:

"I am very happy and very proud of my guys today. Fernandez Racing did an outstanding job even with adversity when the air jack broke on our second pit stop. We came in for our second stop in the lead, and then we had the problem when the car wouldn't go up. The mechanism on the car broke and we had to do the pit stop manually. We had a little bit of a misunderstanding there and [chief mechanic] Mike Sales calmed everybody down. We never lost our hope. At that time we knew we needed to have a Plan B because we knew we couldn't beat anyone in the pits. We knew we could win on the track because we already proved that. We had fantastic strategy and a fantastic car. We were considering not changing tires towards the end because the Firestone tires were extremely good and that way we could stay in the lead. Towards the end, the yellows came at the right time and we managed to stay out without stopping again. For me, it was very gratifying because I didn't see many cars passing on the outside up front and we managed to pass Bryan [Herta] to take the lead when we stayed out. The main thing is that everybody is fine from the accidents today. I was in the right place at the right time. I am very proud and this is a win for my guys. This is a fantastic team.

"We won two races now. Coming from where we came, we knew we could win another race. Nothing has happened coincidentally in the last few races. We are strong and we should win another one because the team is on a roll right now."

FAST FACTS: This was his first career start at Chicagoland Speedway and his 13th IRL IndyCar Series start-- claimed his first career IndyCar Series victory at Kentucky Speedway in his 10th IRL start-- finished second at Pikes Peak three weeks ago-- has finished eighth or better in nine of 12 IndyCar Series starts-- best IndyCar Series starting position to date was fourth at Kentucky Speedway-- enters his 12th season of major open-wheel competition-- is the only competing owner/driver in the IndyCar Series field and the only Mexican driver to compete on a full-time basis in the IndyCar Series-- five of his nine major open-wheel wins have been on ovals (Kentucky 2004, Rio 2000, Fontana 1999, Japan 1998/1999)-- has made 76 career oval starts to date, claiming 40 top-10 finishes (53%)-- 41 years old from Mexico City-- currently resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:

"It was another fantastic day for the Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate #5 car. I think this goes to prove how good Adrian Fernandez really is. The experience that he has to lead and be able to withstand the pressure, you just can't say enough about this guy. I am proud to be a partner with him. The team is starting to react the way winners react by overcoming the problems that we had today. We were able to make those into minor situations and capitalize. The job that Gustavo Del Campo [team manager], John Ward [race engineer], Chris Finch [race engineer] and Mike Sales [chief mechanic] -- all the guys on the #5 team -- for sure these guys are winners. They are able to plan for the unexpected and pull it off when it happens. I am extremely proud of these guys and it is great to be part of their team."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Tom Anderson