CHAMPCAR/CART: Fernandez Racing Milwaukee pre-race notes

Fernandez Racing Miller Lite 225 CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 6 The Milwaukee Mile -- West Allis, Wisconsin -- June 1-3 Broadcast: Sunday, June 3 -- ABC Live 4:00 pm ET Circuit: 1.032-mile oval Fernandez Hoping Number Nine is Lucky at...

Fernandez Racing
Miller Lite 225
CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 6
The Milwaukee Mile -- West Allis, Wisconsin -- June 1-3
Broadcast: Sunday, June 3 -- ABC Live 4:00 pm ET
Circuit: 1.032-mile oval

Fernandez Hoping Number Nine is Lucky at Milwaukee
Nakano Looks to Put Milwaukee Past Behind

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
* Will be making his ninth Champ Car appearance at Milwaukee
* Recorded best finishing position of fifth in 1999
* Best starting position was ninth in 1995
* Finished eighth last year after qualifying 19th

On Milwaukee: "I feel pretty confident. We had a good qualifying session at Nazareth, and were running well in the race. A lot of the things we utilized there can help us in Milwaukee. The same goes for Shinji. He is getting better on the ovals, so we should expect him to improve every weekend in terms of oval performance. What we need to improve, and what hopefully will be fixed, are the [electrical] problems we have had in the last two races so we can start scoring our first points. The first two [races] were more understandable because we were a new team and all that but in the last two races, both Shinji and myself have been performing well and the team has improved tremendously. We are getting better every weekend, so it's frustrating because this problem was something that was not in the team's control. Hopefully Milwaukee will be the start of getting some good points."

On his recent trip to Monaco for the F1 race: "The atmosphere at the race is fantastic. I saw a lot of good friends including a lot of drivers that I know from years past. I had time to talk to my good friend Jo Ramirez from McLaren, who is planning to retire at the end of the year. I had a chance to speak with Bernie Ecclestone for a few minutes. I saw Bobby Rahal ... I spent a lot of time talking to people. I hadn't been to a grand prix in a long time, and it was nice to be there especially in the company of Carlos Slim [Telmex] and his family. It was a nice, relaxing weekend. For the first time, I didn't have to worry about waking up early for practice! Just the magic of the place is fantastic. It's what comes with the race -- all around it -- that makes Monaco so special."

On the rumors of his involvement in F1: "That's just a rumor. I don't know how it started. Jo Ramirez is a very good friend of mine, and I spent some good time with him. Obviously our priority right now is in CART -- to make our team successful, try to win the championship within the next few years, and just make this team strong. What will happen later I don't know, but at the moment we are just concentrating on what we are doing."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 130th 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 six 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 Milwaukee
* Suffered injuries in a pre-season testing accident at Milwaukee last year which caused him to miss three events -- Long Beach, Rio and Nazareth
* Qualified 20th in 2000, but retired from the race on Lap 71

On Milwaukee: "I have no good memories of Milwaukee. I had the testing accident and then I crashed in the warm up, so I want to forget these memories. This year I am starting new, and it is a completely different situation. Milwaukee is not an easy track, and it is important to have a good car to have confidence there. I have had a very good car the past few races. I just need to be patient in the beginning on Friday, and work towards a good setup. If we work like normal, like we have been working, we should be all right. I had a good car and a good race at Nazareth, and that makes me feel good for Milwaukee."

On his busy schedule after Japan: "I worked harder after the race than before! Everybody was very happy after the race. I think I could have done better, but at least I could finish the race. Eighth place wasn't a great result, but it wasn't too bad. It was good for all the fans in Japan, and for my sponsors. The week after the race, I was very busy. I stayed in Japan and had a lot of interviews and sponsor visits. Yeah, Japan was good."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 22nd 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.

-FR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Shinji Nakano , Jo Ramirez , Bernie Ecclestone