IRL: Texas II: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez Aiming to Complete Hat Trick in Texas Adrian Fernandez and Fernandez Racing are on a hot streak heading into the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Fernandez, a first-year Indy Racing League competitor who is ranked...

Fernandez Aiming to Complete Hat Trick in Texas

Adrian Fernandez and Fernandez Racing are on a hot streak heading into the Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Fernandez, a first-year Indy Racing League competitor who is ranked fourth in the championship standings, has won the last two, and three of the last five IRL IndyCar® Series races. He returns to the Fort Worth 1.5-mile oval for the season finale ready to challenge for his fourth win of 2004, and to support teammate Kosuke Matsuura, who hopes to add Bombardier Rookie of the Year title honors to his racing resume this Sunday.

Fernandez finished fifth in his debut at Texas Motor Speedway this past June, a race he deemed as "quite an experience" after getting his first real look at the trademark side-by-side racing of the IndyCar Series.

Despite a shaky start to his IRL career with two DNF's (did not finish) at Phoenix and Japan, Fernandez rebounded with consistency as his learning curve progressed. He has finished 10 of the last 12 races in the top eight, and is ranked third in consecutive finishes.

* Has won the last two, and three of the last five IndyCar Series events, claiming victory at California, Chicagoland and Kentucky Speedways

* Added a second-place result at Pikes Peak International Raceway on August 22

* Has moved into fourth place in the championship standings despite missing the season-opening race in Florida

* Will be making his second career start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, and his 15th IRL IndyCar Series career start

* Started ninth and finished fifth at Texas Motor Speedway in June

* Has 11 major open-wheel wins to his credit, seven on ovals

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

"It is just an incredible feeling to head to Texas for the season finale on the strength of three wins, knowing that we can challenge for a fourth this weekend and that Kosuke [Matsuura] can come away with Rookie of the Year. To be able to have this success as not only a driver but with your own team, just makes it all the more special.

"As I said after the last race, I have never had a season like this in my career. Regardless of what happens this weekend, I am thrilled with our first season in the IRL and I am already looking forward to 2005. I believe we will be challenging for the championship next year."

FAST FACTS: Enters his 12th season of major open-wheel competition-- is the only Mexican driver to compete on a full-time basis in the IndyCar Series-- seven of his 11 major open-wheel wins have been on ovals (Fontana 2004/1999, Chicagoland 2004, Kentucky 2004, Rio 2000, Japan 1998/1999)-- has made 78 career oval starts to date, claiming 42 top-10 finishes (54%)-- major open-wheel career record includes 192 starts with 102 top-10 results (53%) and 45 top-five finishes (23%)-- 41 years old from Mexico City-- currently resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Fans Can Win Fernandez's Driving Suit:

Throughout 2004, the Fernandez Racing website (www.fernandezracing.net) has offered fans the opportunity to win personalized Adrian Fernandez race memorabilia -- from pit crew shirts to race-worn visors. The final drawing of the 2004 season will take place at Texas Motor Speedway with the winner receiving the season's grand prize -- Fernandez's driving suit.

"This has been a fun way to give something back to the fans for their support," said Fernandez, who personally draws for each of the raffle winners. "It has become a very popular part of our website, and we are looking forward to making it bigger and better next season."

The drawing will take place on Saturday, with the winner announced on race day via video on the Fernandez Racing website.

-www.fernandezracing.net

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Series INDYCAR