BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN â€“ FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2000 -- Round 11 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series â€“ Roberto Moreno is 16th and Adrian Fernandez 17th on the combined practice report following the first day of practice for the Michigan 500 at...
BROOKLYN, MICHIGAN – FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2000 -- Round 11 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series – Roberto Moreno is 16th and Adrian Fernandez 17th on the combined practice report following the first day of practice for the Michigan 500 at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, worked diligently during the morning practice session as he and the engineers searched for the proper set-up. At the end of the first session he was 21st on the speed charts with a time of 31.669 seconds (227.352 mph). Following a productive debrief the team returned to the track in the afternoon with an improved car. Moreno ran a 31.253 second lap (230.378 mph), which was the 13th quickest time of the session and moved him up six places on the combined practice report. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing team made a big gain from the morning practice to the afternoon. We are learning what the car needs and how to set it up for this track. By the end of the afternoon practice I was very comfortable with it. The car is stable at this point and we know what direction to go in to improve it. I think the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth is a good race car, and it is also a fast car for qualifying."
Moreno, who is leading the FedEx Championship Series standings for the first time in his seven year CART career, holds a two point advantage over Michael Andretti, 90-88. The 41-year-old Brazilian has finished seven of ten races this year, each time in the top-10 including four podium showings. He captured his first career CART victory at Cleveland, took seconds at Miami and Portland and a third in Japan. The Weston, Florida resident has qualified in the top-10 in eight of ten races, with one pole, Cleveland, also a CART career first. Moreno has been very consistent in qualifying on ovals starting fourth at Motegi, seventh at Miami, Nazareth and Milwaukee, and 12th at Rio. Moreno will be racing at Michigan Speedway for the sixth time (four 500-milers and one 250-mile race). This will be only his seventh career 500-mile race (Indianapolis and Pocono in 1986 in addition to the four Michigan races). In his four previous 500-mile races at Michigan, Moreno has two top six finishes with a best of third in 1996 at the inaugural U. S. 500.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, had a problem with his turbo during the morning practice session which robbed him of both time and power. He was 25th after the first practice session running a time of 32.151 seconds (223.943 mph). In the afternoon practice he began the session with an electrical problem, but after the team made repairs he quickly began to show improvement. His fast time in the afternoon session was 31.319 seconds (229.892 mph) good for 15th on the speed charts and moving him up eight spots on the combined practice report.
"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team had a turbo problem in the morning then at the beginning of the afternoon session we had an electrical problem. That put us a little behind. But, we made some good progress in the afternoon session. By the end of the session it was a very good car. We just ran out of time. I am confident going into tomorrow because the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth felt good, and there is definitely more speed in the car."
Fernandez is coming off a strong performance last week at Toronto where he qualified ninth and, with the help of some outstanding pit work by the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew, finished second. The 35-year-old Mexican has scored points in seven of his last eight races (including Nazareth) and is currently eighth in the championship standings with 61 points. He is just five points out of fifth place. Fernandez has qualified in the top-10 in seven of ten races. He has had some strong qualifying performances on ovals this year starting a season high third at Miami, ninth at Nazareth and 10th at Milwaukee. He qualified 15th at Japan and 16th at Rio. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has finished seven of ten races this year, placing in the top-10 six times, including a win in Rio, and finishing in the points seven times. Fernandez will be making his sixth start at Michigan Speedway, however it will be the seventh time he has qualified. In 1996, he qualified second at the inaugural U. S. 500, but was the victim of a parade lap incident that prevented him from starting the race (he practiced, but did not qualify in 1993). In five previous races at Michigan, Fernandez has qualified on the front row twice, both with Patrick Racing, taking the pole in 1998. He has finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of third in 1995. Fernandez won his last 500-mile super-speedway race, the 1999 Marlboro 500 at MIS' sister track, the California Speedway in Fontana, California
Qualifying for the Michigan 500 will begin at 11:00 am (ET) tomorrow. The race will be run on Sunday, July 23 at 1:30 p.m. (ET) and will be televised live on ABC.