CHAMPCAR/CART: Milwaukee: Adrian Fernandez pre-race notes

Fernandez hopes to shine at first night venue Last year's polesitter looking for one step up on the podium The Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250, Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, represents a landmark...

Fernandez hopes to shine at first night venue
Last year's polesitter looking for one step up on the podium

The Milwaukee Mile Centennial 250, Round Six of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, represents a landmark event on several fronts. The historic Wisconsin State Fair Park circuit celebrates 100 years of racing action in 2003 with this Saturday's race marking the 102nd Champ Car event held on the legendary oval since Wilbur Shaw drove to victory in 1933. It is also the first time that the CART field will compete at night.

Adrian Fernandez was a major force at Milwaukee last year, dominating the practice session charts and claiming his third career pole position with a lap of 167.532 mph (22.176 seconds). Following a controversial race start, he ended the day one position shy of his first Champ Car win on a one-mile oval, finishing second to Paul Tracy.

Racing under the lights at Milwaukee will be a new experience for most of the Champ Car contingent. Fernandez himself has raced only once at night -- way back in 1981 in his very first auto race, the 24 Hours of Mexico, at the age of 16.

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

* Will be making his 11th Champ Car start at Milwaukee

* Claimed career best short-oval results at Milwaukee last year, starting on pole and finishing second

* In 10 Champ Car starts at Milwaukee, has posted seven points-paying finishes including three top-five results

* Has four Champ Car career oval wins to his credit, but none on a one-mile oval

* Has finished over half (56%) of his 25 career one-mile oval starts in the top 10

* Currently sits seventh in the championship standings with 29 points

"Racing under the lights at Milwaukee is obviously going to be something different for everyone, and I think it will be very exciting and a good show for the fans. We came in second at Milwaukee last year and should have won that race. We dominated the whole weekend and I hope that the setup we had then can transfer to what we have this year. After our bad results the last two races, we have to come back strong. I like racing at Milwaukee and it is going to be interesting to see how close we can run with the [high downforce] wing package we are using here. The whole purpose of bringing these bigger wings is to be able to pass and run closer together. If it is similar to Germany, it will be a great race."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 166th Champ Car career start-- recorded two top-five finishes in five rounds of 2003 competition to date -- second at Long Beach and fourth in Monterrey, Mexico-- has qualified seventh or better in four of five races to date, claiming his best starting position of third in St. Petersburg-- has finished over half (52%) of his 63 Champ Car career oval starts in the top 10-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with seven career wins and three pole positions-- 38 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 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.

Track Talk

Fernandez Racing Race Engineer David Watson estimates top speeds of 190 mph and minimum speeds of 160 mph around the Milwaukee Mile -- the only one-mile oval on the CART calendar. Drivers are expected to shift four times per lap or 1,000 times during the course of the 250-lap race, pulling as much as 3.8 lateral G-force through the turns. The maximum lap interval for pit stops will be 59 laps. The high downforce package used this weekend constitutes the highest downforce (and drag) used since 1998, says Watson.

Several new rule changes will take effect at Milwaukee. The use of spare cars (T-cars) has been eliminated unless the designated primary race car is damaged beyond repair. If the primary car is damaged prior to qualifying, the spare car can be used without penalty. If the spare car is needed after qualifying is completed, the car will start the race at the rear of the field.

Racing action will be enhanced by a new "move-over" rule that goes into effect during the last 10 laps of a race. Chief Steward Chris Kneifel will have the authority to send all lapped cars to the end of the restart line giving the frontrunners a chance to battle to the checkered flag without interference by lapped traffic.

Trackside

Adrian Fernandez will kick-off the race weekend with the Milwaukee Mile 250 Media Press Conference to be held trackside at the Exposition Center on Thursday, May 29, beginning at 11:00 am. Fernandez will be joined by Bruno Junqueira, Sebastien Bourdais, Joel Camathias, Paul Tracy, Mario Dominguez and Michel Jourdain.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Joel Camathias , Chris Kneifel , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais , Tom Anderson , Michel Jourdain