Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 7 The Raceway on Belle Isle -- Detroit, Michigan -- June 15-17 Broadcast: Sunday, June 17 -- ABC Live 2:00 pm ET Circuit: 2.346-mile Temporary Street Course Adrian...
Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit
CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 7
The Raceway on Belle Isle -- Detroit, Michigan -- June 15-17
Broadcast: Sunday, June 17 -- ABC Live 2:00 pm ET
Circuit: 2.346-mile Temporary Street Course
Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
* Will be making his ninth* Champ Car appearance at Detroit
* Recorded best finish of second in 1998; best starting position was third in 1998 and 1996
* Finished 21st last year after a discarded visor strip was drawn into the engine's turbo during a pit stop
* Missed four races in 1999 (Detroit, Chicago, Mid-Ohio and Vancouver) resulting from an accident during practice at Detroit when he fractured the radius bone in his right wrist
On Detroit: "I have had a lot of success at Detroit in the past, but the last two years haven't been the best. I had the visor go into the turbo last year, and broke my wrist the year before. I'm looking forward to a good result this year! It is going to be difficult in terms of qualifying because I have a penalty that I have to serve [from Long Beach, when he caused a red flag at the end of qualifying]. We are also in the first qualifying group, and the second group is always quicker. If we didn't have those electrical problems in Nazareth and Motegi, we could have been in the top 13 in points and that would have made our job easier this weekend. We need to try to qualify as far up as we can, and run well in the race. If we have a good car, hopefully we can do some good things. I like the street courses. We have been running a lot of ovals lately, and it's a nice break to get back to road racing. I personally enjoy them more."
On returning to his former home: "I lived in Detroit [West Bloomfield] for a few years, and it's like going home in a way. I still have a lot of friends there, so it is always nice to go back."
On getting his first points of the season with a fifth-place finish at Milwaukee: "Milwaukee was very exciting. I was getting a little frustrated, but there is nothing you can do. The team did a great job. We are getting stronger and stronger and you could see that at Milwaukee. We knew our strategy going in to the race, and we followed it to the end. It was tough sometimes in terms of saving fuel, but we came home with some points."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 131st 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 CART field...recorded last Champ Car win seven races ago in Australia...led the series in both laps and miles completed in 2000, en route to recording 17 points-paying finishes...fifth most-winning driver in the current CART field.
Shinji Nakano, #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
* Will be making his second Champ Car appearance at Detroit
* Finished 15th last year after starting 22nd
On Detroit: "I like this track, and I am looking forward to this weekend. It is tough to pass, so qualifying is very important. You need a good race car, but I think the qualifying setup is more important at this track. We are going to work hard on this. I have confidence in the car, and I think we are going to have a good run this weekend. I was not in good shape at Detroit last year because of my accident. [Nakano missed three events following a testing accident at Milwaukee. Detroit was his first road course event last year.] This year is no problem."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 23rd career Champ Car start...is in his sophomore season of Champ Car competition with three 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.