CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round Three Bridgestone Potenza 500 Twin Ring Motegi -- Motegi, Japan -- April 25-27 Broadcast: Saturday, April 27th -- SPEED Channel 12:30 pm EST Circuit: 1.548-mile oval Race: 201 laps/311.148 miles AdriÃ¡n...
CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round Three
Bridgestone Potenza 500
Twin Ring Motegi -- Motegi, Japan -- April 25-27
Broadcast: Saturday, April 27th -- SPEED Channel 12:30 pm EST
Circuit: 1.548-mile oval
Race: 201 laps/311.148 miles
Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:
With Two in the Books, Fernández Looks for Win Number Three at Motegi
* Will be making his fifth Champ Car start at Motegi
* Only two-time winner, scoring back-to-back wins at the inaugural race in 1998 and in 1999
* Best starting position at Motegi was second in 1998
* Started ninth last year, but retired with an electrical problem on Lap 148 and was credited with 16th place
On Motegi: "It's an important race for us, and it would be great to win it for Honda. Hopefully, with what we have learned in the last two races, we will be able to accomplish that. We have been working hard, and working hard with Shinji to help him get a good result at his home circuit.
"A lot of things happened in Long Beach that didn't really show the true potential of the team. We are getting closer to where we should be. Hopefully we can have a smooth weekend in Japan and prove what we are capable of. We tested at Homestead and have a little taste of what to expect. The Motegi facility is first-class. I have always enjoyed going to this race and have a lot of great memories."
FAST FACTS: Only owner/driver in current Champ Car field^ÅTied for fourth among active drivers in career wins with seven^Å will be making his 148th career Champ Car start^Å Tied for 12th in CART career starts^Å currently sits 15th in the championship^Å has recorded points-paying finishes in over half of his 58 career oval starts^Å four of his seven Champ Car career wins were on ovals -- Japan (1998/1999), Rio (2000) and Fontana (1999).
Shinji Nakano, #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:
Nakano Aims for the Podium at Homeland Circuit
* Will be making his third Champ Car start at Motegi
* Matched career-best finish of eighth at Motegi last year after starting 13th
* From Osaka, the second largest city in Japan
On Motegi: "I'm really looking forward to the race. It's Japan, my home country, a Honda circuit and the last year for Honda, so this race means a lot. I will try to just concentrate on what I have to do. Of course there is a lot of pressure, but I will try to not feel too much pressure, be like normal and just concentrate. My goal is to win the race, for myself, for Honda and for Japan. I believe we can do it."
On the first oval race of the season: "It is going to be interesting for all the drivers. Nobody really knows who is quick and who is not on the ovals at this point. And, with the new regulations for this year, all the race strategy will be completely different. Nobody knows what can happen in the race. Basically I think a quick car is going to win the race. Not like last year, when you had to save fuel. It will be a very exciting race.
"We went to Homestead before Long Beach, and that was our first oval testing in the Lola. It wasn't really a successful test for us. We really couldn't find a good setup for the car at Homestead. We found a pretty good setup at Long Beach and, while there is obviously a difference between a street circuit and an oval track, we found something for this new car and I think we can use this advantage in the car on the oval track as well."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his 40th career Champ Car start^Å is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing^Å currently sits 17th in the championship^Å has 15 career oval starts, recording two top-10 oval finishes at Japan (2001) and Homestead (2000).
Tom Anderson, Co-owner/Managing Director:
"I'm really looking forward to the Motegi race this year as I believe Fernández Racing has the right combination to win with Honda, Lola and Bridgestone. Adrian has won there twice before, and I think Shinji had a strong showing last season and will improve on that this year."
Fernández Racing Team News:
The trip to Japan marks a homecoming for two Fernández Racing team members:
* Although he was born in Fort Monmouth, N.J., Nakano's Chief Mechanic Steve Ragan spent the next 22 years growing up in Zama City -- located 25 miles southwest of Tokyo. He became interested in motorsports through his father who raced touring cars. Prior to continuing his career stateside, Ragan was the chief mechanic for Japanese motorcycle F1 champion Satoshi Tsujimoto.
* Tomi Takase, lead mechanic for Nakano, hails from Fujisawa, located 40 miles from Tokyo and 130 miles from Motegi. After attending a mechanic's school in Japan, Takase traveled the globe and has worked as a lead mechanic in German F3 competition, as a gearbox technician in Formula One for Forti Corse and drivers Roberto Moreno and Pedro Diniz, and in Japanese F3000 before joining the Champ Car ranks.