CHAMPCAR/CART: Elkhart Lake: Fern?ndez Racing race report

Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- ...

Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

Finished: 18th (Mechanical - Lap 27) Started: 8th

"This was the best car that I have had this year. It was very well balanced. I was a little bit conservative at the start of the race and lost two positions. We came back and I was all over Dario [Franchitti]. I didn't have enough speed on the straight [to pass him] because we were basically both trimmed out very similar. We planned to pit a little earlier to get a gap on Dario and I think that could have worked well. Unfortunately, coming out of the Kink, I saw a lot of smoke and that was it.

"My hip is not too bad. Two times I hit the curbs hard and basically that reminded me to not do it again because it hurt. I was just trying to be very smooth without making a mistake. Everything was good and I was enjoying this track. I love to drive this track. We have had very good success here in the past and I felt that we were going to have it again. It just wasn't meant to be today. The good thing is I'm back and feeling good. I have to thank Max [Papis] for helping us last week. Now I have to get better for Montreal and hopefully we can do it there."

FAST FACTS: This was his ninth Champ Car appearance at Elkhart Lake and his 156th Champ Car career start--- has finished on the podium at Elkhart Lake the past three years - third (2001), second (2000), third (1999)--- has finished in the top six in six of eight starts at Elkhart Lake--- claimed his best starting position of fifth at Elkhart Lake in 1999 and 2000--- started 26th in last year's race at Elkhart Lake and finished third--- only owner/driver in current Champ Car field---currently ranked fifth among active drivers in career wins with seven--- is ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts--- currently sits 13th in the championship with 39 points--- has 46 career road course starts to his credit, finishing over half in the top 10--- 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:

Finished: 11th Started: 10th

"The car was not too bad at the beginning of the race but it started to get really loose during the first stint. I came in for our [pit] stop and went back out. The car was getting looser and looser. The gap between myself and the car in front of me was getting bigger and bigger. I couldn't figure out why and then we found the problem with the rear wing being loose on the back. I lost two laps. I had a problem with the brakes later and that's when I went off. The pedal went to the floor and I just went straight. It wasn't the day we intended. Apart from all the problems, I think the car was pretty good. It just wasn't the day for me."

FAST FACTS: This was his third Champ Car appearance at Elkhart Lake and his 49th career Champ Car start --- finished 15th at Elkhart Lake last year after starting 21st--- started 23rd at Elkhart in 2000, but retired with a transmission problem and was credited with 21st place--- has finished in the points the past six events--- claimed career-best road course finishes this season - 10th at Cleveland and ninth at Mid-Ohio--- has made 16 career road course starts, claiming four points-paying finishes--- is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing---currently sits 14th in the championship with 37 points.

Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:

"Overall I was pleased with our performance this weekend. Obviously we were much more competitive than Mid-Ohio. Our engineering department did a great job this weekend and I look forward to their continued improvement. Adrian did a fantastic job considering his injuries from Vancouver and I look forward to him being further along in his total rehabilitation at Montreal. As far as the race goes, we had a problem on both cars. The internal part on the rear wing mainplane on Shinji's car broke inside. We were very fortunate that Steve Ragan [Nakano's crew chief] noticed it when Shinji went by. Unfortunately it took Shinji out of a competitive finishing position, which I believe both he and the car were capable of today. I'm looking forward to Montreal."

-fr-

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