Lehigh Valley Grand Prix presented by Toyota CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 4 Nazareth Speedway --Nazareth, Pennsylvania -- May 4-6, 2001 Broadcast: Sunday, May 6 -- ABC Live 1:00 pm ET Circuit: One-mile oval Adrian Fernandez, ...
Lehigh Valley Grand Prix presented by Toyota
CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 4
Nazareth Speedway --Nazareth, Pennsylvania -- May 4-6, 2001
Broadcast: Sunday, May 6 -- ABC Live 1:00 pm ET
Circuit: One-mile oval
Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex
* Will be making his eighth appearance at Nazareth
* Finished fifth the past two seasons after starting ninth both years
* Posted top-10 finishes at all but one oval event last season
* Four of his seven Champ Car career wins have been on ovals
"Nazareth is a track that I know very well. I enjoy racing there. I think it is one of the toughest ovals. I haven't had particularly good cars in qualifying, but have done well in the race. You need a good car there to perform well. Last year wasn't fun. It was way too cold. Since it's later in the year, I'm hoping the weather will be better."
On his coaching role:
"As I said from the beginning, I know Shinji is going to surprise a lot of people as he already did in Texas. Nazareth is a track he doesn't know, so we are going to work very closely to make sure that he understands the art of driving these ovals. One of the main things that I have been trying to teach him is that sometimes you just have to be patient."
On "camping" at the track:
"Now that I'm spending more time at the track with the team, I decided to try out our hospitality motorhome and stayed there during Texas. It's nicer than I thought. It really saved me a lot of time, and makes my time more efficient. If the engineers or anyone needs me, they know where to look. With the other drivers staying at the track, it's sort of like camping."
Will be making his 128th 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 four 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:
* Will be making his first appearance at Nazareth
* Missed two oval races -- Nazareth and Rio -- in 2000, after a testing accident at Milwaukee
* Best oval finish was eighth at Homestead last season
* Recorded his best oval start last weekend in Texas, qualifying fifth
"This is another new oval for me. I watched the race tapes and it doesn't look easy. The shifting for this oval is another thing I will need to get used to. I am not worried because I have Adrian and Tom [Anderson], a good team and engineer, Martin Pare. I have to learn the track but I will have a lot of help."
On making his eighth career oval start:
"I have confidence because I have a teammate and I am in a good team with a bunch of good people. I trust these guys. I have not finished a race on a one-mile oval so this will be a learning race for me. I know they will give me a good car, and I just have to do my job."
Will be making his 20th career Champ Car start...is in 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...hails from Formula One with 33 F1 starts and nine top-10 finishes in two years of competition.