JACKSON, MI - - July 7, 2000 - - Patrick Racing made tremendous progress during the second of two days of testing at Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois. Adrian Fernandez in the ...
JACKSON, MI - - July 7, 2000 - - Patrick Racing made tremendous progress during the second of two days of testing at Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois.
Adrian Fernandez in the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, who ran both days of the test, was tied for third on the combined speed charts, while teammate Roberto Moreno piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth ended up fifth despite running only the second day. "Yesterday was pretty much a throw away day," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "We ran the low downforce configuration in the morning and the drivers didn't like it. So we switch to a high downforce configuration in the afternoon. By the time we got on the track to run that afternoon we were really only able to get in about an hour of solid testing."
"Overall we are pleased with the results of the Chicago test," continued McGee. "It was a good test from the standpoint that we now have a solid baseline for the Chicago race. We tried a lot of different things and we are very close as far as speed. We should be in good shape and very competitive when we come back for the race."
This was the first time Fernandez has run at Chicago Motor Speedway having missed the inaugural race last year with a fractured forearm. The 35-year-old Mexican made some of the largest gains over the two-day test. He was 11th on the speed charts with a time of 23.797 seconds following the first day, but improved his time to 22.626 on day two tying him with Michel Jourdain for third overall (Christiano DeMatta was fastest with a time of 22.422).
"Since I didn't race here last year the most important thing for me was to get in a lot of laps during this test. I wanted to get in as much track time as possible so I could learn about the circuit and how the car reacts," said Fernandez. "We made progress each time we went out and I think we now have a good baseline for when we come back for the race. Overall, it was a good test for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team. Both the team and I learned a lot."
Fernandez, who has battled bad luck for much of the first part of the season, is currently 11th in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 45 points. He is just nine points out of seventh place. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has finished six of nine races, placed in the top-10 five times, including a win in Rio, and finished in the points six times this year.
Moreno, who did not test the first day, Fernandez shook down the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth on Thursday, also lost most of the morning practice session due to mechanical problems. In the afternoon, during a three hour stint, he was able to take advantage of Fernandez' work with the Patrick Racing engineering staff and run a very competitive time. His lap of 22.641 was just .015 of a second behind his teammate and good for fifth overall on the speed charts.
"I only ran the second day of the test, and in fact, really only tested in the afternoon because we had a gearbox problem in the morning," said Moreno. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth ran very well. The car is good. I think we have a good set-up to start the Chicago weekend. We will just need to fine-tune the car, depending on the weather conditions when we come back at the end of July."
Moreno, who is coming off a phenomenal weekend at Cleveland where he captured his first CART pole and earned his first CART win, is in first place in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 90 points. The 41-year-old Brazilian, who leads the championship standings for the first time in his seven-year CART career, holds a 22-point lead over Michael Andretti. Moreno has been the model of consistency this year. Competing in just his third full CART season, and first with Patrick Racing, the Weston, Florida resident has finished seven of nine races, each time in the top-10 including four podium showings, the win at Cleveland, seconds at Miami and Portland and a third in Japan. He has qualified in the top-10 in eight of nine races, with one pole, and is first in laps completed, first in miles completed and third in laps led.
The next stop for the Patrick Racing team will be Toronto, Canada for the Molson Indy Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place on July 13-16.