Fernandez Racing Harrah's 500 presented by Toyota CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 11 Michigan International Speedway -- July 20 - 22 Circuit: 2-Mile Oval Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- ...
Harrah's 500 presented by Toyota
CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 11
Michigan International Speedway -- July 20 - 22
Circuit: 2-Mile Oval
Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
* Will be making his eighth Champ Car start at Michigan
* Claimed his first career Champ Car podium (third) at Michigan in 1995
* Claimed his first career Champ Car pole at Michigan in 1998
* Posted a sixth-place finish last year after starting 12th
* Career-best superspeedway finish was first at Fontana in 1999
* Has finished sixth or higher in seven of his 11 starts at Michigan and Fontana
On Michigan: "I have had good results at Michigan in the past, and I hope to continue our competitive streak from Cleveland and Toronto. We haven't been on a superspeedway since Fontana, and I am looking forward to this race. The key at Michigan is to be patient. It's an endurance race. You need to have your car ready for the last 50 miles and you need to be in contention and on the lead lap. That's when you can start running strong. Before that, you need to make sure you don't take any unnecessary chances or put yourself at risk. It's about being patient and taking care of the equipment. There are so many pit stops and so many mistakes that can happen. I spun coming out of the pits last year and hit the wall with the nose of the car. I lost two laps and managed to recover those two laps and finish sixth. Hopefully we will have a car as good as we had last year."
On his clutch problem in Toronto: "The guys found the problem with the clutch. The clutch was dragging. When I put the car into first gear, I had my foot down completely on the clutch and the car was moving while we were still refueling. That is when the car stalled. They are changing the master cylinder and will have it ready for Michigan. We will have to make seven pit stops during the race, so it's very important there."
On his podium at Toronto: "I am very excited. It was important for the team to have a good result. Everybody's on a high so we have to continue that trend at Michigan -- not get too overconfident, just do our job and score some good points. There are still 11 races to go so a lot of things can happen from now to the end."
FAST FACTS: Is the only owner/driver in the current CART field ** will be making his 135th career Champ Car start at Michigan ** 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 Champ Car appearance at Michigan
* Started 19th last year, but retired with a mechanical problem after 104 laps and was credited with 20th place
On Michigan: "For Michigan, qualifying is not that important. You need to work for a good race car -- to find the right balance so the car handles well in the draft. I had mechanical problems at both Michigan and Fontana last year, so I have not finished a 500-mile race yet. I would like to finish this weekend. It is a long race and you need a reliable car and a bit of luck as well."
On his top-10 finish at Toronto: "We had some problems at Toronto with my mistake in qualifying and then the radio problem during the race, but it was a good weekend. With Adrian's podium, the team is showing that we are able to run at the front. In the past, we have had good cars but maybe not good enough. This past weekend showed what the team can do."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 27th career Champ Car start at Michigan ** 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.