CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Friday Portland notes

PORTLAND, OREGON - FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2000 -- Round 8 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno is eighth and Adrian Fernandez 13th on the grid following Friday's provisional qualifying for the Freightliner/G. I. Joe's 200 at Portland...

PORTLAND, OREGON - FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2000 -- Round 8 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno is eighth and Adrian Fernandez 13th on the grid following Friday's provisional qualifying for the Freightliner/G. I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon. Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, struggled in the morning practice session turning in a time of 60.001 seconds (118.138 mph) around the tricky 1.967-mile PIR permanent road course. The time placed him 20th on the speed charts. However, in afternoon provisional qualifying he ran with the second or "fast" group due to his tenth place starting position in Detroit. Since the track was covered with rubber laid down by the stock cars that practice before provisional qualifying, making it very slippery, the second group benefited from the first group cleaning the rubber from the track. Moreno made dramatic improvement in qualifying running a quick time of 59.334 seconds (119.466 mph) and moved up 12 places on the provisional grid.

"I am very happy with the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth. We came out this morning and the car wasn't very good. So we made a lot of changes, working to get the set-up right. I am particularly pleased with the work of the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew. They did a great job reacting quickly to all the changes and getting the car prepared for provisional qualifying. We have a decent car right now. We have some more to work on, but we know what direction to keep going with the set-up. I think we will be in very good shape for final qualifying tomorrow."

The talent Brazilian, who has established himself as a championship contender, is currently in third place in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 52 points, two points out of second and seven out of first. He has been a model of consistency this year, his eighth CART season, but just third with a full-time ride. Driving in his first campaign with Patrick Racing he has finished five of seven races each time in the top-10, including two podium finishes, a CART career best tying second at Miami and third at Japan. He has qualified in the top-10 in six of seven races. The Weston, Florida resident is first in miles completed (1486.471 out of 1541.451), second in laps completed (1045 out of 1075) and eighth in laps led (34). Moreno will be racing at PIR for the fourth time. In three previous visits he has qualified as high as 11th, twice 1986 and 1999, and finished as high as seventh, 1999.

Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, had exactly the opposite day. He began the day running very strong in morning practice turning a quick time of 59.232 seconds (119.547 mph) good for fifth on the speed charts. In provisional qualifying he ran with the first "slow" group, having qualified 14th in Detroit, and had to battle the thick layer of rubber that settled on the track. The rubber prevented drivers from putting down the power as quickly as they would liked because it caused the wheels to spin and the back end to break loose. Never the less, the skilled Mexican was able to generate at least one fairly strong lap running a time of 60.343 seconds (117.468 mph) which placed him at the top of his group, but 13th overall. "It was very difficult out there for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team. The cars that practiced before us left a lot of rubber on the track. We were in the first group in provisional qualifying and there was about an inch of rubber all over the track, particularly in the corners. Sometimes you would go through and it would stick to your tires. Then when you went to put down the power the wheels would spin and throw rubber. I am disappointed. We went quite a bit slower than this morning. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team worked hard this morning to get the car right and we should have had a clean track for qualifying."

The 35-year-old Fernandez, who has battled his way back into the championship hunt, had his streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes snapped at Detroit when, in a freak incident, his visor tear off was sucked into his turbo intake. He is now tenth in the championship standings with 38 points just nine points out of fourth place. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident will be competing at PIR for the seventh time. In six previous appearances his best qualifying effort is fifth, last year. He has finished in the top-10 in four of the six races with a best showing of fourth, also last year.

Final qualifying for the Freightliner/G. I. Joe's 200 will begin at 1:45 pm (PDT) tomorrow. The race will be run on Sunday, June 25 at 2:00 p.m. (PDT) and will be televised tape delayed on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. (ET)

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno