Fernandez Racing CART FedEx Championship Series - Round 1 Tecate Telmex MontÃ©rrÃ¨y Grand Prix Fundidora Park - MontÃ©rrÃ¨y, Mexico - March 8-10 Broadcast: Sunday, March 10 - Speed Channel 4:00 pm EST Circuit: 2.1-mile road course FernÃ¡ndez ...
CART FedEx Championship Series - Round 1
Tecate Telmex Montérrèy Grand Prix
Fundidora Park - Montérrèy, Mexico - March 8-10
Broadcast: Sunday, March 10 - Speed Channel 4:00 pm EST
Circuit: 2.1-mile road course
Fernández Racing Ready to Challenge at Tecate Telmex Montérrèy Grand Prix
Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:
On Monterrey: "Monterrey was very special for me last season. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had with the number of fans, the atmosphere and the tremendous showing of support. I had never experienced anything like this in my entire CART career. It was a lot of work, but at the same time, it was very rewarding! I am grateful to have sponsors that want to help me focus on my racing next weekend. I will be doing the majority of my commitments during the week, and have the weekend to concentrate on driving. Hopefully I can reward them for their support on race day."
On the team: "What a difference a year makes! Last March, we were a three-month old team making our debut at one of our most important races. Now we are headed to Monterrey prepared to meet the challenges. Internally, we have continued to strengthen the team and make our foundation stronger, and we are much better organized. Personally, I am in the best physical shape of my career and I am really looking forward to this year's race."
On the new equipment package: "I think our Honda/Lola/Bridgestone package is a good car. With the new testing rules, we have only used six of 10 test days. After the last test, we were pretty close with where we wanted to be with the car. We are not 100 percent there yet, but hopefully we will be able to make that up over the weekend. Don [Halliday] and I are still learning, but I have no doubt we will be competitive this year."
FAST FACTS: Only owner/driver in current Champ Car field * Ranked fourth among active CART drivers in career wins with seven * will be making his 146th career Champ Car start * tied for 13th in CART career starts * started and finished 19th at Monterrey last year in team's debut * has finished 24 of 42 Champ Car career road course starts in the top 10 (57%) * Fernández and Nakano are currently the only drivers running the Honda/Lola/Bridgestone combination.
Shinji Nakano, #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:
"I am looking forward to going back to Monterrey. The reception we received last year was incredible. This is an important race for Adrián and for the team. It is the same feeling for me when I go to Japan. Last season, we were learning to be a team and learning to work together. I think the team is at a new level now. There haven't been a lot of changes in my program - Martin Paré is still my engineer, Steve Ragan is back as my chief mechanic and my mechanics are the same. This is good. I am also learning a lot from Don Halliday. We have made good progress during the off-season with our new equipment package, and we are ready to make a new start this year. I am excited and I am looking forward to showing the results on the race track."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 38th career Champ Car start * enters his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing * Started 27th and finished 18th at Monterrey last year in team's debut * has 11 Champ Car career road course starts to his credit * best road course finish was 11th at Portland in 2000.
Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:
"The new CART FedEx Champ Car season is upon us, and finally a fresh start to show that Fernández Racing is better than its record of 2001. I am totally thrilled and challenged by the new CART rules put in place earlier this year -- qualifying equal for all at each event, and fuel strategy now is not the most important item on race day. I think the fans are really going to see some exciting racing this season, and the drivers are going to be challenged more than ever before.
"Our winter test season is complete. We are now able to save some of our test days for March and April, so we have only tested on road courses to this point to focus on Monterrey, by using the road course at Homestead, Florida, and Long Beach, by using the short course in Sebring, Florida. Adrián and Shinji are fit and ready to go. I am also extremely excited about working with our new partner in Fernández Racing, Don Halliday, and new employees [team manager] Bob Adie, [#51 chief mechanic] Mike Sales, [#52 assistant race engineer] Dan Grabski and [#51 mechanic] Doug Beaulieu.
"I believe we have chosen the right chassis, engine and tire package with Lola, Honda and Bridgestone. I expect to gain momentum with this technical combination throughout the entire season and honestly be in a position during the later stages to challenge for the championship. Our first real test comes very soon in Monterrey. I believe in Fernández Racing, and I think our fans will see the difference one year has made."