AdriÃ¡n FernÃ¡ndez claimed his fifth straight top-10 result at Milwaukee, bringing the ...
Adrián Fernández claimed his fifth straight top-10 result at Milwaukee, bringing the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone home in second-place at today's Miller Lite 250. Fernández, who started on the pole, moves up in the points to tie Michael Andretti for sixth place in the championship.
Shinji Nakano saw his day come to an end on Lap 43 when the right front suspension broke on the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone. Nakano, who started the race in sixth position, was running in third at the time.
Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:
Started: 1st Finished: 2nd
"We lost the race at the start. I spoke with Jim Swintal [Starter] and he admitted he made a mistake. We all make mistakes but I think this really cost us our race. Paul was basically setting the pace like he was the polesitter and he was way ahead of me when they gave the green flag. I'm disappointed about that. When I saw that Paul was in Turn Four ahead of me, I started to back off because I was not planning to start the race with him so much ahead of me. That [green flag] really took me by surprise. One minute I'm on the pole and suddenly I'm in fifth place. After that, it was just a matter of staying in contention. I was very, very angry at the beginning. I didn't just lose one position; I lost four positions. The marbles were a big problem today and it was difficult to pass. One time I almost hit the wall because the marbles were very close to the line and you couldn't go any higher.
"The way we dominated all weekend and the team's performance in terms of preparation was fantastic. Our pit stops were excellent. I think this is the start of a new era for Fernandez Racing. The Bridgestone tires were awesome as was the Honda engine. I have to thank them [Honda] for their continued support through our testing season and constantly working to improve. Honda is putting a lot of hard work into this championship and I'm very proud to be part of that."
FAST FACTS: This was his 10th Champ Car start at Milwaukee and 149th career Champ Car start, ranking Fernández 10th in CART all-time career starts^Å best finish at Milwaukee previously was fifth in 1999 and 2001 ^Å only owner/driver in current Champ Car field^Å tied for fourth among active drivers in career wins with seven ^Å has recorded points-paying finishes in over half of this 60 career oval starts^Å four of his seven Champ Car career wins were on ovals ^Ö Japan (1998/1999), Rio (2000) and Fontana (1999).
Shinji Nakano, Driver -- #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:
Started: 6th Finished: 18th
"We had a pretty good car and it had the potential to finish on the podium. We had a loose car in the warm-up but we made some adjustments and the car was good in the race. It's a pity that we had the problem [the right front suspension broke] and had to stop. Hopefully, we are going to have better luck."
FAST FACTS: This was his third Champ Car start at Milwaukee, and 41st career Champ Car start^Å had five career one-mile starts to his credit before this weekend, posting his best finish at Nazareth in 2001^Å is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing^Å has 16 career oval starts prior to this weekend, recording three top-10 finishes at Japan (2001/2002) and Homestead (2000).
Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:
"I have to say that we are very pleased. Both cars were competitive all weekend and qualified well. We capitalized on having a good test here and were really confident coming in. We had a good performance going with both cars today, but had a mechanical failure that was a little bit of a surprise on Shinji's car. That took away a possible good result for Shinji for which we owe him an apology. Adrian had some good stops and was competitive all day. If we can continue this kind of pace, I believe before long we will be the winner."