CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Fernandez Racing preview

CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round Two Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Long Beach, California -- April 12-14 Broadcast: Sunday, April 14 -- FOX Sports 3:30 pm EST Circuit: 1.968-mile temporary street course Race: 90 laps/177.12 ...

CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round Two
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Long Beach, California -- April 12-14
Broadcast: Sunday, April 14 -- FOX Sports 3:30 pm EST
Circuit: 1.968-mile temporary street course
Race: 90 laps/177.12 miles

Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his 10th Champ Car start at Long Beach

* Competed in first career Champ Car race at Long Beach in 1993

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

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

* Finished 16th in the race last year after starting 26th

Note: Will celebrate his 37th birthday on April 20th.

On Long Beach: "I am looking forward to Long Beach, and to finishing the job we started in Mexico with our first pole position as a team. We have done a lot of things that should put us in a much better situation for this weekend, and I think we will be very competitive. I competed in my first Champ Car race at Long Beach, so this weekend always holds special memories for me. I am also looking forward to seeing a lot of our fans that come to this race. CART has put a lot of positive rule changes into place that make the competition even more exciting for the fans."

FAST FACTS: Only owner/driver in current Champ Car field--Tied for fourth among active drivers in career wins with seven-- will be making his 147th career Champ Car start-- Ranked 13th in CART career starts-- currently sits 12th in the championship-- has recorded points-paying finishes in over half (58%) of his 45 career street course starts-- two of his seven Champ Car career wins were on temporary street circuits, Toronto (1996) and Australia (2000).

Shinji Nakano, #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his second Champ Car start at Long Beach

* Missed the 2000 Long Beach race due to injuries sustained in a testing accident at Milwaukee

* Scored the team's first championship point at Long Beach in 2001, finishing 12th after starting 23rd

Note: Celebrated his 31st birthday on April 1st -- sharing the same birthdate as his engineer, Martin Paré.

On Long Beach: "I really like this track, and the atmosphere throughout the race weekend is great. I scored the first [championship] point for the team at Long Beach last season, and this year I want to finish on the podium. We learned a lot about the car in Mexico, and I think we are going to learn a lot in Long Beach. We are still on a learning curve with the new equipment package, but my knowledge and my engineer's knowledge is much more now and I think we are going to have a good car."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 39th career Champ Car start-- is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernandez Racing-- currently sits 15th in the championship-- has 11 career street course starts to his credit, posting top finishes at Toronto (ninth in 2001) and Houston (eighth in 2000).

Fernández Racing Team News: Making their first race weekend appearances with Fernández Racing are new team members Gustavo del Campo, Kenny Szymanski and John "Jack" Christiansen.

* Del Campo, the new team manager for Fernández Racing, joined the team in March. He most recently hailed from the Dayton Indy Lights ranks, and his 22 years in the sport include team director/engineering positions in Mexico's F3000, F3, Formula K and Formula Ford series. He worked directly with Adrián Fernández in 1992 when Fernández was invited to substitute in an F3 race for Team GO. Fernández won the race, and del Campo still has the trophy.

* Kenny Szymanski joins Fernández Racing as tire technician for Adrián Fernández. Szymanski, a Milwaukee, Wis., native who resides in New York City, was the tire technician for Fernández at Tasman Motorsports during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. He has been involved in the sport since 1978, and most recently worked at Newman/Haas Racing. Szymanski will join up with Fernández Racing on race weekends while he continues his full time job as an international in-flight steward for American Airlines ^Ö a position he has held for 28 years.

* Jack Christiansen joins Fernández Racing as a mechanic and fueler on the #51 car. Christiansen, who most recently worked at Team KOOL Green, also worked with Adrián Fernández at Tasman Motorsports. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native enters his 10th year in racing.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano