CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca Patrick Racing preview

JACKSON, MI - - September 7, 2000 - - Patrick Racing will continue its assault on the top spot in the FedEx Championship Series standings this weekend, September 8-10, at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey on the permanent road course at Laguna Seca...

JACKSON, MI - - September 7, 2000 - - Patrick Racing will continue its assault on the top spot in the FedEx Championship Series standings this weekend, September 8-10, at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey on the permanent road course at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.

Patrick Racing drivers Adrian Fernandez, who pilots the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth and Roberto Moreno, who is behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth are currently third and fifth, respectively, in the championship standings.

Fernandez has been on an incredible streak the last two months. He was sitting in 11th place in the point standings following the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland on July 2. Since then, the 35-year-old Mexican has placed in the top five in four of his last six races and in the top six in all six. The strong performances have moved him into the top three in the championship race just nine points out of first place. Fernandez has finished on the podium in his last two starts. He has seven consecutive top-10 placements and has scored points in his last eight races. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has tallied points in 12 of his last 13 starts. In addition to being the hottest driver in the series he has been the most consistent. The eight-year CART veteran, who is in his third season with Patrick Racing, has finished 12 of 15 races this year (the most of any driver) each time in the points. He has 11 top-10 showings including six top five finishes with four podium appearances and one win. Fernandez is third in miles completed (3048.787 of 3470.041), fourth in laps completed (1874 of 2102) and tenth in laps led (73).

"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team has done a fantastic job all year. They have done a great job in the pits and preparing the car. I would not be in the position I am today without the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team," Fernandez said.

"We just have to keep doing what we have been. Just be consistent, finish races and score points. We need to qualify better. We also probably need to win one or two races," concluded Fernandez.

Fernandez will be competing at Laguna Seca Raceway for the eighth time. In his previous seven starts he has finished in the top-10 four times and in the points six times. Fernandez' best qualifying position at Laguna Seca is sixth (1998) and his best finish is fifth, last year.

Moreno, who is in his seventh CART season, but driving a full schedule for just the third time, is also having a remarkable season. Piloting a Patrick Racing car for the first time, the 41-year-old Brazilian led the championship standings for almost a month earlier this year and has notched his first career CART pole and win (both at Cleveland). This is the first time since the third race of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season that Moreno has not been in the top three in the points. The Weston, Florida resident is two points out of third place and 11 out of first. He has finished 11 of 15 races, each time in the points with 10 top-10 showings including six top five finishes and four podium appearances. Moreno has finished in the top-10 in three of his last four races and placed in the points all four times. He is second in miles completed (3082.207), second in laps completed (1904), tied for second in races finished (11) and fifth in laps led (138).

"We have been able to bring the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth home in the points the last few races, but we need to finish higher if we are going to compete for the championship. This series is so competitive that it is not good enough to just score points. You have to finish on the podium and win races," said Moreno.

"This has been a dream season so far for me. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has done a great job. We have worked very hard together to get to where we are. We just have to finish the season the way we started and the championship will be there at the end," noted Moreno.

This will be the sixth time Moreno has raced at Laguna Seca. In his five previous starts he has placed in the points three times with two top-10 finishes and a best showing of second achieved last year. His best starting position is sixth in 1985.

PATRICK RACING NOTES:

Patrick Racing Most Consistent Team In FedEx Championship Series:

Patrick Racing, which captured national championships in 1976 (Gordon Johncock) and 1989 (Emerson Fittipaldi), has had several great two-car seasons during its 28-year history. In the mid-seventies and early eighties the team consistently placed two cars in the top-10 in the championship standings. As recently as 1998, they had both drivers finish in the top six in the championship race with Adrian Fernandez placing fourth and Scott Pruett sixth. However, only the 1976 season, when Johncock finished first and Wally Dallenbach placed third, can compare with the season Patrick Racing is having this year. After 15 of the 20 races in the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season, Patrick Racing is the only team to have two drivers in the top nine, let alone the top five, in the championship standings. Combining the statistics of both Fernandez and Roberto Moreno, Patrick Racing has finished more races than any other team (23 of 30). They are first in points (232), laps (3778 of 4204) and miles (6130.994 of 66940.084) completed. They are tied for third in wins (2), third in laps led (211) and tied for fourth in poles (1).

Patrick Racing Crews Lead Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge:

The Patrick Racing crews are first and second in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge. Fernandez' Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew is first with 126 points. Moreno's Visteon/Patrick Racing crew, which led the standings for much of the season, is currently second with 117 points.

Fernandez Second In Budweiser Hard Charger Award Standings:

Adrian Fernandez captured the Budweiser Hard Charger Award at Vancouver. He started 15 and finished third. Fernandez is in second place in the Budweiser Hard Charger Award season standings. Luis Garcia Jr. holds a 14-point lead over Fernandez, 89-73.

Consistency For Fernandez And Moreno Goes Farther Than This Year:

Starting with Fontana in 1997, Fernandez has finished sixth or better in 31 of 51 events placing in the top-10 at 37 races and in the points 39 times. Moreno has finished in the top-10 in 16 of his last 28 CART starts and in the points 19 times.

Patrick Racing Tops Standings For Fifth Time In Last Six Years:

Patrick Racing has led the CART championship race at some point during the season in five of the last six years. They topped the standings at the halfway point of the season for the first time during that span this year.

McGee Holds Record For Most Wins:

Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee is tops on the all-time wins list for a General-Team Manager/Chief Mechanic with 88. McGee is the only

Manager/Chief Mechanic to win a championship in four decades (60's - 90's).

He has at least one victory in each of his last five decades (his 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's) and a least one victory in each of the last five decades (60's - 00).

Patrick Racing Facts:

Patrick Racing, in its 28th year of competition, is one of the most successful teams in the history of Champ Car racing with 43 victories, three Indianapolis 500 wins and two national championships. U. E. "Pat" Patrick is the co-founder of CART and the "father" of the Dayton Indy Lights Series.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Luis Garcia , Scott Pruett , Emerson Fittipaldi