JACKSON, MI - - September 12, 2000 - - Patrick Racing will be looking to regain the momentum that propelled them into the midst of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series title battle this weekend, September 15-17, at the Motorola 300 on the oval at ...
JACKSON, MI - - September 12, 2000 - - Patrick Racing will be looking to regain the momentum that propelled them into the midst of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series title battle this weekend, September 15-17, at the Motorola 300 on the oval at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
Adrian Fernandez, who pilots the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, continued his remarkable streak of points paying finishes with a 12th place showing last weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey. However, despite the good showing, Fernandez fell one place in the standings from a season high of third to fourth with 118 points. He remains in the thick of the championship race just four points out of third place and 14 out of first.
Meanwhile, teammate Roberto Moreno, who is having a career year in his first season driving the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, dropped out of the top five in the standings for the first time this season after finishing 25th at Monterey. He is currently sixth in the standings with 115 points and remains within easy striking distance of the top spot. Moreno is just seven points out of third place and 17 out of first.
Fernandez, who has scored points in nine consecutive races with seven top-10 showings, has finished in the top five in four of his last seven races and in the top six in six of the seven. The 35-year-old Mexican, who was languishing in 11th place in the point's race as late as July 2, has jumped seven places during the nine-race span. The eight-year CART veteran, who is in his third season with Patrick Racing, has tallied points in 13 of his last 14 starts. He has finished 13 of 16 races this year (the most of any driver) each time in the points. Fernandez has 11 top-10 showings including six top five finishes with four podium appearances and one win (Rio). The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident is second in miles completed (3234.541 of 3655.795), third in laps completed (1957 of 2185) and tenth in laps led (73).
"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team has done a tremendous job this season. We had a difficult race last weekend at Laguna Seca, but still managed to score a point and stay in the hunt for the championship. There are four races left in the season and I am looking forward to fighting for the championship starting this weekend at Gateway," said Fernandez.
Fernandez will be competing at Gateway International Raceway for the fourth time. In his previous three starts his best qualifying position is seventh, last year and his best finish is eighth in 1997.
"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team has had some very good cars at Gateway International Raceway, but we have been a victim of mechanical problems the last two years. We don't always have great qualifying cars at St. Louis, but in the races we have been very quick. The last two years I was running in the top five before we experienced problems that knocked us out of the race," Fernandez noted.
Moreno, who led the FedEx Championship Series point standings for almost a month earlier in the season, fell out of the top three in the championship race for the first time since the third race of the season two weeks ago at Vancouver. The 41-year-old Brazilian, who is in his seventh CART campaign, but driving a full season for just the third time, has finished in the top-10 in three of his last five races and placed in the points four times. He has finished 11 of 16 races (tied for fifth), each time in the points with 10 top-10 showings including six top five finishes and four podium appearances with one victory (his CART career first at Cleveland). The Weston, Florida resident is third in miles completed (3182.917 of 3655.795), fourth in laps completed (1949 of 2185) and fifth in laps led (138).
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has lost a couple of battles, but we are still fighting the war. We have not, and will not give up. There are still four races left in the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season and even though I have not raced on two of the tracks (Houston and Fontana) the experience of the Visteon/Patrick Racing team should be a big help. We need to focus on our qualifying then continue to have the strong, consistent finishes that have been our trademark this year. If we can do those things we will be in the fight for the championship until the end," Moreno said.
This will be the third time Moreno has raced at Gateway International Raceway. In his two previous starts his best qualifying position is 16th (1997) and his best finish is fourth, last year.
"Last year my second race of the season was at Gateway and I had a very good performance. We started 19th, but got through the field with good race strategy. Then I led the race for 42 laps before finishing fourth. It was one of my best performances ever on an oval and was particularly gratifying because it came in my second start of the year," said Moreno.
"I like the Gateway International Raceway oval. It is a bit different because you downshift twice. First when you enter turn one and then again entering turn three. That is a bit unusual for an oval," noted Moreno.