IRL: Chicagoland: Race report

Fernandez Wins at Chicagoland for Second Win of Year JOLIET, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004 -- Adrian Fernandez passed Bryan Herta with 17 laps to go, and then held off Herta's late charge, to win the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. It...

Fernandez Wins at Chicagoland for Second Win of Year

JOLIET, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004 -- Adrian Fernandez passed Bryan Herta with 17 laps to go, and then held off Herta's late charge, to win the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. It was Fernandez's second win in the IRL IndyCar® Series.

Herta finished second, his best finish of the season, followed by his Andretti Green Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Dan Wheldon. Vitor Meira finished fifth.

Kanaan took a step closer to his first IndyCar Series title with his 13th consecutive top-five finish. He can clinch the title by finishing fourth or better in the Toyota Indy 400 on Oct. 3 at California Speedway.

Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice was eliminated from title contention in a Lap 185 accident with Darren Manning. Rice was not injured in the accident when his car flipped and slid down the backstretch.

DELPHI INDY 300 POST-RACE NOTES

Tony Kanaan finished third, his 13th consecutive top-five finish and his 14th consecutive top-10 finish.

A Honda-powered car has won the last 13 IndyCar Series races.

The first 86 laps were run under green today, an IndyCar Series record at Chicagoland Speedway. Last year, the first 72 laps were run under green. The league record is 146 laps, set at Kentucky in 2003.

DELPHI INDY 300 POST-RACE QUOTES:

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: (No. 5 Quaker State Telmex Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "Fantastic work by the team. They did a fantastic job on the pit stop.The airjack broke. I'm just glad everyone is OK, and we managed to do something good for everybody on the team."

BRYAN HERTA (No. 7 XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "When I was leading, I let (Adrian Fernandez) go, because at that point, I didn't know there'd be a caution. We needed to save some fuel, and with all the cautions, he had the track position. I knew the move I had to try there on the last lap, and I got the run on the backstraight and tried to get side by side. I just didn't have enough to get him."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "We tried our best. It's just the way it is. We (Kanaan and his Andretti Green Racing teammates) tried to help each other, and it obviously didn't work. We were trying to win, and we couldn't. You try. You do your best, and we didn't do it. What can I do? It's tough. It was crazy people out there. I think people should think about what the hell they are doing. That's not the way to race."

DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I had a very, very clean race with Buddy (Rice), and he was excellent to drive with today. We drove very hard together, but it was another fantastic result for Andretti Green Racing and the Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew. To finish 2-3-4, that's a great day. It was a difficult race out there, and it's just a shame we can't race as close as this without incidents happening."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda/ Firestone): "It was pretty hard. That's how those races are going to be, just hold your breath, everybody. But I think it was a good day." (Did you see teammate Buddy Rice's accident?): "I had a view of his underwing, not his accident. I was really worried at the time because I remembered Kenny's (Brack) accident. This team went through a lot of stuff last year, and they have a real good association with their drivers. It would hurt a lot to have another one hurt, but Buddy's OK, thank God. He was out of the car. He's a strong guy."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 1 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "The Target team gave me an excellent car today, and we had a top-five car, but when you have 10-lap shootouts like that, it's going to be anyone's game. It was probably the easiest day I had this year because of how strong the car was. I could put the No.1 Toyota/Panoz G Force pretty much anywhere. It was pretty loose on that first stint, but it was really good in traffic. I struggled a bit on the restarts, but the car was strong through the corners, and my crew guys were excellent on all our stops. That helped me pick up some spots. There was a lot going on out there on the track, especially in the middle of the pack, and it was probably the closest racing we've had all year. It was a bit chaotic, especially when it became a 20-lap shootout, and you just knew something was going to happen. In the end, the last 10 laps were fair enough, and the Target team is happy to have had a good day."

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone): "It was a little bit too crazy. I had too many close calls. At one point, I thought, 'There's no way I'm going to make it to the end.' There were so many things happening out there, and people were driving all over the place. It was fun for a while, but towards the end, it wasn't really fun. People were driving crazy, but as a driver, I wasn't going to lift. The car was handling great, we were just too short on gears. I had nowhere to go on the straights. We had a race that we've deserved for a while."

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I'm really glad to have made it to the end. It was like a horse race out there, very tight and very competitive. My Marlboro Team Penske crew did a great job on pit stops, and Roger (Penske) made the right calls on our pit strategy. The car was consistent and handled well in traffic. We were just trying to stay out of trouble so we could be there at the end. I had fun for a little bit, but overall, it was a tough day. I'm just glad that we brought it home, and I'm looking forward to Fontana and Texas."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "We had a tough day out there. We did everything that we could do, but unfortunately, it just wasn't enough. The Marlboro Team Penske car had too much downforce, which made it tough to stay with the lead pack. I was flat out and still getting passed all over the track. It's too bad, because my guys did a fantastic job getting me out of the pits all day. We just couldn't keep up on the track. The good news is that we earned a top-10 finish, and now we just have to be strong in Fontana."

DARREN MANNING (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/ Firestone): "We were just running so close, it is difficult to say what happened, to be honest. You are just running in such close proximity all the time, and my right-front (tire) touched Buddy (Rice's) left rear. I don't know if he just came down on me, but there was someone else on the outside."

BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Dallara/Honda/ Firestone): "I have no idea what happened, to be quite honest with you. It's what ends up happening when you have 20-lap shootouts at places like this. Everyone is in tight quarters all the time, and it is the way it goes. I'll just have to wait and see what happened when I look at the video."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): (About contact with Mark Taylor): "We got into a bang-up a few laps before that in Turn 1, right front (to) left rear (contact), so you never know, something might have happened. All of a sudden, the car wanted to go up the track. Unfortunately, the 13 car was there. We had a good day going, but it ended a little short." (About strong run): "It felt good. We were running up there all day and had a good car where we could stay up there. It's unfortunate, but we've got to go to California and do the same thing."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 13 Access Motorsports Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): (About contact with A.J. Foyt IV): "It's one of those things. His car was pushing, it looked like. I don't know if it's because of his car or because he didn't know I was there. It's very disappointing. We were very happy with the way that the car was. We were moving forward all the way through. We had a lot of people here from University Loft, and they were obviously enjoying it. It's just a shame not to finish the thing."

***

The next IndyCar Series event is the Toyota Indy 400 at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 3 at California Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series event is the California 100 on Oct. 2 at California Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 7

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Darren Manning , A.J. Foyt IV , Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing