CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2000 -- Round 12 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing's Adrian Fernandez finished fifth, while teammate Roberto Moreno placed sixth at today's Target Grand Prix at Chicgo Motor Speedway in...
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2000 -- Round 12 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Patrick Racing's Adrian Fernandez finished fifth, while teammate Roberto Moreno placed sixth at today's Target Grand Prix at Chicgo Motor Speedway in Chicago, Illinois.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, had a spectacular race. The 35-year-old Mexican started 19th, his lowest qualifying position of the year, then drove a strong, steady race. He also benefited from solid pit work from his Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew and a smart race strategy. Fernandez was running in 11th position at about the 150-lap mark having pitted out of sequence on a yellow on lap 111. This would have allowed him to go to about lap 192 of the 225-lap race. When the leaders stopped for fuel between laps 152 and 170, Fernandez moved into second place, but when another yellow came out on lap 174, the team took the opportunity to come in for their final stop while up one lap on most of the field. When he exited the pits, Fernandez found himself in fifth place. At that point the lead cars were just a bit to strong and he had to settle for the top five finish. Fernandez earned ten points for his efforts and is currently sixth in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 79 points. He is just three points out of fourth and 10 out of third.
"It was a tough race for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team, as I predicted. I passed Michel Jourdain at the start of the race and after that it was very difficult. On one of the restarts I had a problem. I tried to go around somebody and I got up in the marbles and lost a few positions. The line here really closes up very quickly and that limits what you can do. At the end of the race I had a vibration on the left front and I could just barely hold on to the steering wheel the last few laps. I knew Roberto (Moreno) was coming up behind me, so I was just trying to bring the car home.
"Overall I am happy with the result. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team started way in the back, but the team played our race strategy very well. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew gave me a great car. They are the ones who earned this finish today and our sixth place standing in the point's race," said Fernandez.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, had an equally satisfying day. Starting 13, he moved into 11th position as other competitors either crashed or suffered engine failures just prior to his second pit stop on lap 79. Since the Visteon/Patrick Racing team had pitted just 41 laps early, on a yellow, they decided to forgo tires during this pit stop. When the 41-year-old Brazilian rejoined the contest he found himself in fourth place and in sequence with the leaders who were scheduled for one stop before the end of the race. Although he battled mightily he gradually slipped to sixth place at around the 150-lap mark where he remained for the rest of the race. Moreno picked up eight points today and retained second place in the championship standings. He now trials today's runner-up Michael Andretti, 120-98.
"I think it was a great result for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team. We came from the back, made up a lot of positions and scored some valuable championship points. Mr. Patrick and Jim McGee, once again, called a great race. Our race strategy was perfect. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth had a lot vibration at the end of the last run. When I closed on my teammate Adrian (Fernandez), I felt a big vibration. So I decided not to risk it, finish where I was and take the points.
"This was a very important race for the Visteon/Patrick Racing team to finish and place high in the points because we didn't finish the last two races. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team will take sixth place today and be very happy. We are still second in the FedEx Championship Series standings and are headed to some tracks where we should have a very good race car," said Moreno.
Today's race was a particularly strong effort by Patrick Racing. The team picked-up up a total of 21 positions overall. Adrian started 19th and finished fifth, while Roberto stated 13th and finished sixth.
Next up for Patrick Racing is the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.