AdriÃ¡n FernÃ¡ndez, Owner/Driver -- ...
Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex
Qualified: 19th Finished: 19th
Status: Lost clutch early in race, and tried to make it on one stop. Was running in 12th and took a gamble to not make a second pit stop when the race resumed under green flag conditions on Lap 72. Ran out of fuel on Lap 75, three laps from the end.
“The start of the race was good for us. When the first yellow came out, I realized that I had no clutch. I think we did a good job on our pit stop not to stall. The car was much better in the race than this morning, but unfortunately we got it a little bit late. It still was hard to compete with the top guys in the front. I was having some problems coming out of the corners and I lost a few positions, but I saw other people having the same problems. I tried to be focused but to be honest, I don’t think I drove my best. I was a little tired this weekend, and I was just trying to stay focused and not make any mistakes and do the best with what we had.
“With the fuel, if we would have stopped, we would have finished at the end of the line and it wasn’t worth it. Our only hope was for another yellow to help us finish the race. Sometimes you have to do that and this time we were a little bit more optimistic than other times. We had to try it for our fans that came here to support us.
“It was a good weekend for us in terms of Mexico. The reception, everything, was very nice. Even though we didn’t finish the race, for me this is winning the race. Fernández Racing is just growing and every time we come to a race, we are going to get better and better.”
John Ward, Chief Engineer/Race Engineer Fernández: “If you start as far back as we did, you sort of have to do something different if you’re going to get up to the front and make some points. We gave it a try but we just needed a little bit more help there at the end on that last restart. It was pretty much a tough day for us. We learned a lot and hopefully we’ll come get ‘em in Long Beach and do a lot better there.”
Driver -- #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard:
Qualified: 27th Finished: 18th
Status: Stalled exiting the pits after the first stop. We accessed a drive-through penalty for using the starter of the #51 team. Was later involved in an incident with Alex Zanardi. Was able to continue after two additional pit stops. Finished two laps down.
“I learned a lot this race, and I think the team learned a lot. This is our start. My car was good during the race. I stalled the engine after the pit stop and I had contact with Zanardi. That was a shame. Otherwise, the car was good. We could go as fast as the quick cars, and at least I know this and it’s a good sign for the next race. We just need to put everything together in the race and the results will come.”
Tom Anderson, Owner
“Our first race day -- the first day of a new beginning. I knew there were going to be mistakes that surprised me and there were several such as the penalty on Nakano for getting started from Adrian’s pit. That was very interesting. The guys grew up a lot today. They test well together and now they have to learn to race well together. Racing is obviously different. Testing and qualifying are about fixing a race car and making a fast lap. The methodical thinker does very well in a race and race strategy and understands what is going on around him rather than just worrying about going fast. All of our people today in the pits, and I think we did three or four pit stops on the #52 car, got a lot of experience. On the #51 car, they only stopped once but without the clutch, and had to use their heads to get the car rolling again. All in all, I have to say that I’m happy. Obviously, I am disappointed with the results, but if I look at the big picture I have to say I am happy.”