AdriÃ¡n FernÃ¡ndez, Owner/Driver -- ...
Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard:
“As a team we have accomplished a lot and worked really hard to be ready for this weekend. Our game plan is to stick to the basics. I think if we stick to the basics and not try anything fancy, we will do very well. As a group this is our first race and obviously we will be much better six months from now, but the base is there. I have a good feeling about our team. We have a lot of good people.
“There is a lot of anticipation for the race. I have not experienced anything like this before, and I think it will be a unique experience for the CART community. They have not seen anything like this. It is a very, very well supported race. The only thing worrying me is my wrist. [Fernández has been experiencing pain and swelling in his left wrist diagnosed as a form of tendonitis called intersection syndrome.] It’s not going to be a problem, but it’s in the back of my mind. I have worked very hard to prepare physically for the season and this is the only thing bothering me.”
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 126th career Champ Car start… has seven career Champ Car wins…is coming off a career-best season with a second-place finish in the championship…only owner/driver in the current field…last road course victory was in Australia last year…led the series in both laps and miles completed en route to recording 17 points-paying finishes in 2000… fifth most-winning driver among the current CART field.
Shinji Nakano, Driver -- #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard:
“Everything has gone well from our first test in Sebring. I have learned a lot of things from Adrián and Tom, and I am looking forward to the start of the season. We won’t know how strong we are until we go there, but for myself, I am ready both physically and mentally. The team has done a good job over the winter getting prepared, so we will see. We have done all that we can.”
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 18th career Champ Car start…enters his sophomore season of Champ Car competition with a pair of top-10 finishes to his credit…will have the benefit of a teammate for the first time in his CART career…best career road course finish in 2000 was eighth at Houston…hails from Formula One with 33 F1 starts and nine top-10 finishes in two years of competition.
Tom Anderson, Owner
“We’re feeling somewhat optimistic for a new team going into the first race. Obviously, this group of people has never worked together before as a team at a race venue, and testing is very different from racing. It will be very interesting to see what problems come up that we are not anticipating, but I believe that we have the talent available to handle the problems. We’ve got a great group of people and we are looking forward to representing our sponsors well at our first race and establishing our baseline.”