CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2000 -- Round 12 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno is eighth and Adrian Fernandez tenth on the combined practice report following the first day of practice for the Target Grand Prix at ...
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2000 -- Round 12 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno is eighth and Adrian Fernandez tenth on the combined practice report following the first day of practice for the Target Grand Prix at Chicago Motor Speedway in Chicago, Illinois.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, made steady progress throughout the day working with both his primary and backup cars. During the morning split practice sessions he ran with the first or "slow" group based on his 16th place qualifying position last weekend at Michigan. In his session, Moreno turned a quick time of 23.209 seconds (159.610 mph) placing him 11th on the speed chart. The team then went to work analyzing the results of the morning practice and came up with a set-up for the combined afternoon practice. At first, the team appeared to struggle with handling and then a mysterious mechanical problem. However, the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew continued to work diligently, switching between the primary and back-up cars. By the end of the session, while in the primary car, Moreno was able to click off a fast time of 22.846 seconds (162.147 mph) good for seventh in the session and eighth on the overall combined practice report. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing team made a big improvement from this morning's practice to this afternoon. I am very happy with the progress we are making with the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth. We are learning more each time out and we are able to apply it and improve the car. The car is very consistent. It is not ideal with full tanks, but it is quite good with mid- to empty tanks. I am very pleased with the progress we made today and confident that we will have a good car for tomorrow's qualifying."
Moreno, who is seeking to regain the winning ways that propelled him into first place in the FedEx Championship Series for almost a month, is currently second in the championship race. The 41-year-old Brazilian, trails series leader Michael Andretti by 14 points, 104-90. Moreno has finished seven of 11 races, each time in the top-10 including four podium showings. He captured his first career CART victory at Cleveland, took seconds at Miami and Portland and a third in Japan. The Weston, Florida resident has qualified in the top-10 in eight of 11 races, with one pole (a CART career first at Cleveland). He is first in prize money earned, fourth in laps and miles completed and fifth in laps led. The talented and personable Moreno will be racing at Chicago Motor Speedway for the second time. At the inaugural Target Grand Prix Moreno qualified eighth and finished ninth.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, ran in the second or "fast" group during the split morning practice session based on his 12th place starting position at Michigan. He was again among the fastest drivers running a fast lap of 23.062 seconds (160.628 mph) in his session good for seventh place on the speed charts. In the afternoon combined practice, Fernandez continued to make progress with the set-up and managed to improve his time by almost .2 of a second turning a quick lap of 22.890 seconds (161.835 mph). Although he was able to improve his time, he did drop one place on the overall combined practice report slipping to eighth overall. "It was a productive day for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team. We made a lot of changes and tried some new things. At the end of the day we had some problems with the way we set up the shocks, but we came back and I am happy with the way we ended the session. We still need to fine-tune the car. It is not exactly where I want it to be, but I am sure the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team will get it right for tomorrow's qualifying."
Fernandez will be attempting to extend a streak that has seen him finish in the points in eight of his last nine races this weekend in Chicago. The 35-year-old Mexican is sixth in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 69 points. He is just six points out of fourth place and 11 out of third. Fernandez has finished eight of 11 races this year, placing in the top-10 seven times, including a win in Rio. He has finished in the points eight times. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident is sixth in prize money, laps and miles completed; and eighth in laps led. This will be the first time Fernandez has competed on the one-mile Chicago Motor Speedway oval. He missed last year's inaugural Target Grand Prix with a fractured radius of the right forearm suffered in practice at the Detroit Grand Prix. The injury required surgery to insert 11 pins and caused him to miss four races.
Qualifying for the Target Grand Prix will begin at 1:30 am (CT) tomorrow. The race will be run on Sunday, July 30 at 3:00 p.m. (CT) and will be televised live on ABC at 4:00 p.m. (ET).