CHAMPCAR/CART: Fernandez Racing Chicago preview

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- ...

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
* Will be making his second appearance at Chicago
* Missed the inaugural race in 1999 due to a broken right wrist from an accident at Detroit
* Finished fifth last year after starting 19th

On Chicago: "It is always nice to go to Chicago. I love the city and it's a beautiful track. Chicago has a big Hispanic community and I have a lot of fans there. I hope that we can give the fans a good show this weekend and, hopefully, I can better my fifth-place finish from last year. It's been a little frustrating the last few races even though I had my best result of the season at Toronto [third]. With some mechanical problems, we haven't been able to achieve the success that we wanted, so we are looking forward to every race right now. The team is really working well together and I feel that we are on a roll in that respect. We just haven't had any breaks -- Shinji or me. I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle of good luck."

On what is needed for success at Chicago: "The track at Chicago is really well done. It has tight corners and long straights with not much banking. Passing can be a challenge. Setup-wise for qualifying, you need to have the car loose otherwise there is no way you can put in a good time. The corners are so tight. For the race, you have to maintain a good balance throughout the entire race. If you have the car too loose, like in qualifying, you aren't going to go anywhere. This track has its difficulties but it plays great on strategy and that's how we took advantage last year."

FAST FACTS:
* Is the only owner/driver in the current CART field
* will be making his 136th career Champ Car start at Chicago
* his best oval start in 2001 was sixth at Nazareth
* best oval finish to date this season was fifth at Milwaukee
* his best road/street course start in 2001 was second at Cleveland
* his best road/street course finish this year was third at Toronto
* recorded his last win at the 2000 Honda Indy 300 in Australia
* has seven career Champ Car wins
* finished second in the championship last season
* fifth most-winning driver in the current CART field.

Shinji Nakano, #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard/Firestone:


* Will be making his second appearance at Chicago
* Started 22nd last year but retired on Lap 172 with a gearbox problem and was credited with 13th place

On Chicago: "The track is little bit like Milwaukee but smoother. It's a difficult short oval track. You have to set up the car to have good grip on the front and it is very difficult during the race because you are braking and downshifting into the turns. Qualifying is not as difficult as the race. You still have to go quick, but at the same time you have to look after your tires."

On passing at the one-mile oval: "Passing is a challenge. It depends on your car. It is easy to wear the tires on the front so if you use up your front tires, you will lose the momentum coming off of the corners and that opens the door to passing. Compared to Milwaukee, I think it is easier to pass here."

FAST FACTS:
* Will be making his 28th career Champ Car start at Chicago
* his best oval qualifying in 2001 was fifth at Texas
* best oval finish to date this season was eighth in Motegi
* his best road/street course start in 2001 was ninth at Detroit
* his best road/street course finish this year was ninth in Toronto
* is in his sophomore season of Champ Car competition with four top-10 finishes to his credit
* has the benefit of a teammate for the first time in his CART career
* hails from Formula One with 33 F1 starts and nine top-10 finishes in two years of competition.

-FR

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano