Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- ...
Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard:
* Made his Champ Car career debut at Long Beach in 1993, in a partial season of competition (five events) with Galles Racing (started 15th, finished 23rd after retiring with an engine problem)
* Had one of only three dnf's (did not finish) during the 2000 season at Long Beach where he qualified fourth, but was out of the race on Lap 10 when he hit the wall on Shoreline Drive due to an engine failure
* Best starting position at Long Beach was third in 1998, and best finish was fourth in both 1998 and 1999
* Has finished in the points in five of eight Long Beach starts
Fernandez will celebrate his 36th birthday 12 days after Long Beach (April 20)
On Long Beach: "I am really looking forward to Long Beach. I have had some good results there the past few years and I think we have a good setup going in to the weekend. We will be in better shape than we were in Mexico, and I will have more time to prepare for the race. I like the track and really enjoy the whole atmosphere. I did a media day and autograph session in Long Beach a few weeks ago, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for this race. It is one of our prime events."
On the three weeks off since Mexico: "These three weeks have helped the team tremendously, and we will be much better organized in a lot of areas. Personally, the break was perfect for me. Actually, it took me one week to recover from Mexico! The down time has been good for my left arm [Fernandez was suffering from a form of tendonitis called intersection syndrome, and required daily medical attention in Mexico and a wrapping on his arm]. I've been working on things with the team, training and relaxing, and really just trying to get my arm back to normal. In Mexico, I'd say it was 40 percent and now it's 90."
Will be making his 127th 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:
* Will be making his Long Beach debut [Nakano missed three events last season, including Long Beach, while recovering from injuries sustained in a testing accident]
* Has competed in five Champ Car street course events, posting a best finish of eighth in Houston
* Spent the last week in Arizona with Fernandez, working on his physical fitness routine
Celebrated his 30th birthday on April 1st -- sharing the same birthdate as his engineer, Martin Pare.
On his Long Beach debut: "I have watched the race tapes, and it looks like a typical street circuit where you need a lot of traction. It's a high-speed circuit as well. I am not worried about setup. Adrian has been fast here, and I think we are going to have a much better setup compared to Mexico. I'm looking forward to it."
On his week in Arizona with Fernandez: "This was my second time to go to Phoenix to train with Adrian, and I have been working pretty hard with my trainer. This season is going to be really tough and training is so important. You need to have a strong body. We did a lot of training -- gym, racquetball, squash, mountain bikes, hiking, running... Adrian has been helping me with my program, and I am learning a lot from him."
Will be making his 19th career Champ Car start...enters his sophomore season of Champ Car competition with a pair of top-10 finishes to his credit...has 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.