CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez gears up for 11th Long Beach Grand Prix start. The streets of Long Beach, California, come alive this weekend as the city prepares for the 29th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Round Three of The Bridgestone Presents the...

Fernandez gears up for 11th Long Beach Grand Prix start.

The streets of Long Beach, California, come alive this weekend as the city prepares for the 29th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Round Three of The Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will mark the 11th Champ Car start on the challenging street circuit for series veteran Adrian Fernandez, who made his Champ Car career debut at Long Beach in 1993.

Momentum is high for Fernandez and the Fernandez Racing team going into the Long Beach weekend following a fourth-place finish in the last round of competition - the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. Fernandez, who currently sits sixth in the championship point standings, has claimed two fourth-place finishes on the downtown circuit. He will be chasing his first podium finish this weekend.

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his 11th Champ Car start at Long Beach

* Best Champ Car starting position at Long Beach was third in 1998

* Best Champ Car finish at Long Beach was fourth in 1998 and 1999

* Started seventh last year and finished 10th

* Made his Champ Car career debut at Long Beach in 1993 with Galles Racing International

* Best career road/street course finishes to date are wins in Australia (2000), Mid-Ohio (1998) and Toronto (1996)

* Has finished over half of his 51 career street course starts in the top 10

* Currently sixth in the championship point standings with 12 points

* Will be celebrating his 38th birthday the Sunday after Long Beach (April 20)

"I have come close to a podium at Long Beach, and our goals going into this weekend are the same as they were in Mexico three weeks ago - to finish the race and to finish on the podium. They are achievable goals. We have been focusing all of our efforts on the engineering side and, while Paul Tracy definitely had the car to beat in Monterrey, we are not far off. I really feel the effort we have been putting in is going to yield the results.

"Long Beach is one of those races that has become a tradition. I have been competing here for over a decade and every year the event itself just seems to get better. This year has even more meaning since my sponsor, Tecate, is now involved with the race. [Tecate is the official imported beer sponsor of the event.] The fans are great and the atmosphere is tremendous. The race will be exciting and full of drama as usual when you are competing on a tight street circuit. Hopefully ours will be the car pulling into the Winner's Circle on Sunday."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 163rd Champ Car career start-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with seven career wins and three pole positions-- thirty-seven years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernandez Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson-- only competing owner/driver in the series-- is the third most-winning driver in the current Champ Car field-- ranked 11th in CART all-time career starts-- has 19 Champ Car career podiums to his credit-- last win was at Australia in 2000-- last pole position was at Milwaukee in 2002-- looking for his first win as an owner/driver-- the last win by an owner/driver was in 1992 when Bobby Rahal won at Nazareth.

Testing One-Two-Three

In preparation for this weekend's race, Fernandez Racing will head to the new Arizona Motorsports Park for a two-day test beginning today, April 7. The team will be in good company as five additional Champ Car teams are also expected to test on the 2.23-mile, 16-turn road course located in Litchfield Park. Noted race course designer Alan Wilson planned the circuit, which opened its doors on March 7 of this year.

Track Talk

Fernandez Racing Race Engineer David Watson estimates top speeds of 185 mph at Long Beach as the Champ Cars roar past the Start/Finish line on Shoreline Drive, and minimum speeds of 30 mph in the Turn 11 Hairpin. Drivers will shift 24 times per lap on the 11-turn street circuit, requiring a minimum of 2160 total shifts during the 90-lap race. The maximum lap interval for pit stops will be 28 laps.

Trackside

Adrian Fernandez kicks off a busy week of pre-race activities with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Media Luncheon on April 9. Fernandez will team with fellow drivers Mario Haberfeld, Paul Tracy, Bruno Junqueira, Jimmy Vasser, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais, Oriol Servia and Michel Jourdain at Airflite in Long Beach for the official media event which begins at 11:30 am.

Fernandez will follow the media luncheon with a visit to Cosworth Racing. The Torrance-based facility is the hub of Cosworth's involvement in the Champ Car World Series, as all engines are assembled, rebuilt and maintained out of this location. Fernandez will be joined by Tracy and Servia for the tour, and media are invited to attend. Please contact Andrew Punzal at Campbell and Co./Ford Racing, (313) 203-7199, to RSVP.

Thursday's schedule is highlighted by the Tecate "Take One with Adrian" Sweepstakes photoshoot, where the nationwide sweepstakes winner will participate in a photoshoot with Fernandez and Tecate racing models. The photoshoot will be held at 12:00 pm in the Expo Center adjacent to the race circuit.

Fernandez will cap off Thursday's activities with a 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm appearance and autograph session at Tequila Jack's located at 407 Shoreline Village Drive.

For more information, please visit www.fernandezracing.net. For additional information on the Champ Car World Series, please visit www.champcarworldseries.com.

-fr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Tom Anderson , Michel Jourdain