CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Fernandez Racing race report

Fernandez takes second in Long Beach. Adrian Fernandez made his 11th appearance at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach a memorable one, bringing the ...

Fernandez takes second in Long Beach.

Adrian Fernandez made his 11th appearance at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach a memorable one, bringing the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone home in second place this afternoon. Fernandez, who started seventh today, is now fourth in the championship point standings.

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

"It was a very difficult race. I didn't have a good start. I spun the wheels too much and Oriol [Servia] got by me. I had a good car and I was pushing hard and, I tell you, my Bridgestone tires were fantastic all day. Very consistent with a lot of grip and I think that is why the pace was so strong today. The Ford engine was very strong and the team gave me great pit stops. Our strategy was fantastic and I think if it weren't for the traffic, like when Oriol was in front of me which cost me a lot of time, we would have beat Paul [Tracy].

"I wasn't close enough to get Paul after his last stop. By then, I was pushing really hard to try to get close to him when he was going to come out of the pits. I pushed too hard to the point that I wore the tires out a little bit. I just didn't have enough. I was not close enough in the first two laps [after he exited the pits]. Once he got temperature in his tires, that was it. Sometimes it goes like that.

"I am very happy for second place -- a good result here in Long Beach. Tecate did a great job in helping to promote the event. We had a great crowd and what a fantastic place to come back to the podium. Today we had a good car and, like Paul said, the pace was very strong and you just mentally had to tell yourself to keep pushing, keep pushing. Sometimes it is easy to give up a little bit. The team was pushing me all the time and the result was fantastic."

FAST FACTS: This was his 11th Champ Car start at Long Beach and his 163rd Champ Car career start ... best Champ Car starting position at Long Beach was third in 1998 ... best Champ Car finish at Long Beach previously was fourth in 1998 and 1999 ... made his Champ Car career debut at Long Beach in 1993 with Galles Racing International ... enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with seven career wins and three pole positions ... thirty-seven years old from Mexico City ... formed Fernández 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 20 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.

Gustavo del Campo, Team Manager:

"We had a very good result. We had a car for a top-five finish and Adrian did a superb job. He made at least five or six very good passes and [race engineer] David Watson made a very good call on the fuel. We are closer to our goal of consistently finishing races in the top five and, when we can, to take the podium. Now we will go to Portland [testing - April 15 and 16] to continue working to win races."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Tom Anderson