JACKSON, MI - - August 16, 2000 - - Poised to make a run at the 2000 FedEx Championship Series title during the last seven races of the season, Patrick Racing heads to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for this weekend's Motorola 220 as the...
JACKSON, MI - - August 16, 2000 - - Poised to make a run at the 2000 FedEx Championship Series title during the last seven races of the season, Patrick Racing heads to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for this weekend's Motorola 220 as the most consistent, and one of the most dominant teams, in CART.
After 13 of the 20 races this season, Patrick Racing is the only team with two drivers in the top five in the championship standings. Roberto Moreno in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth is third in the standings with 100 points, while teammate Adrian Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, is fifth with 87 points. Combining the statistics of both drivers, Patrick Racing leads all CART teams in points (187), races finished (19 of 26 starts), laps completed (3489 out of a possible 3914) and miles completed (5366.915 out of a possible 6174.222). They are tied for second in wins (2), third in laps led (203) and tied for fourth in poles (1).
A major factor in the consistency and dominance of the Patrick Racing team is the outstanding performance of both crews. Moreno's Visteon/Patrick Racing crew has led the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge for much of the season and is currently tied for second in the standings with 97 points. Fernandez' Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew, which is coming off a first place showing in Mid-Ohio, is now fourth in the standings with 92 points.
"We are very satisfied with the results we have achieved so far this year," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "A lot of the hard work that the Patrick Racing team has put in over the last several months is showing dividends. We are poised, and looking forward to the last seven races of the season and the final run for the championship."
Moreno, in his seventh CART season and first with Patrick Racing, is having a career year. The 41-year-old Brazilian, who's third place ranking is his highest this late in a season, trails series leader Michael Andretti by 25 points and Gil de Ferran by six. Moreno led the point's race for the first time in his CART career for almost a month. He also captured his first career CART victory and pole earlier this year at Cleveland. The Weston, Florida resident has been among the statistical leaders in every category all season. He has finished nine of 13 races (tied for fourth) each time in the points, with eight top-10 performances including four podium showings. Moreno is third in laps completed (1760 out of a possible 1957) and miles completed (2701.058 out of 3087.111), and fifth in laps led (131). He has qualified in the top-10 in eight of 14 races, with one pole.
"As far as the championship is concerned...that is something the Visteon/Patrick Racing team has to take race-by-race," said Moreno. "All the races for the rest of the season, beginning with Elkhart Lake, are important. That is the way it is when you have such a competitive situation like we do in the FedEx Championship Series. There are going to be ups and downs during the season and you just have to try and score as many points as possible whenever you can. If we can do that, at the end of the season the championship will be there."
This will be the fifth time Moreno has competed at Road America. In his previous four races his best starting position is third (1985 and 1986) and his best finish is 16th (1985 and 1986). In both '85, his second career CART start, and '86 Moreno led the race before becoming involved in incidents that knocked him from the competition.
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a great test at Road America a couple of weeks ago, so I am very confident going into this race," Moreno said. "It is a great circuit and I love to drive there. The track is one of the most beautiful in the world and with all the different types of corners and elevation changes, as well as the speed; it is very challenging and fun for the driver. It is a circuit where in my second CART race, in 1985; I qualified well, led the race and almost won."
Fernandez is one of the hottest drivers in the CART series over the last 11 races. Starting with the third race of the season the 35-year-old Mexican has been on an impressive streak that has seen him score points in 10 of his last 11 contests. Fernandez currently occupies his highest position in the standings during the 2000 season. He is just one point out of fourth place and 12 points out of third. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has finished ten of 13 races this year (tied for first), each time in the points. He has nine top-10 showings including four top five finishes with a win in Rio. Fernandez has qualified in the top-10 in six of 13 races. He is fourth in laps completed (1729) and miles completed (2665.857), and ninth in laps led (72).
"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team has been very consistent since the third race of the season and we have put ourselves into the middle of the FedEx Championship Series title hunt. I expect us to continue to be consistent. I also expect to win some more races this year. We just need to improve our qualifying, which I know we can, and then we can finish on the podium and win races," said Fernandez.
Now in his eighth CART season and third with Patrick Racing, Fernandez has been very strong at Road America. In seven starts he has finished in the top six four times. His best qualifying position is fifth and his best finish is third both in last year.
"I am looking forward to going back to Road America," Fernandez said. I have had some very good results there in the past and it is my favorite track to drive. Last year, I almost won the race, but I made a little mistake with Michael (Andretti) and lost a place to Christian (Fittipaldi). I think the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team has a good chance at Road American. We are carrying a lot of momentum going into this race. I expect good things."
PATRICK RACING NOTES:
Fernandez Second In Budweiser Hard Charger Award Standings:
Adrian Fernandez remains in second place in the Budweiser Hard Charger Award standings. Luis Garcia Jr. holds a 19-point lead over Fernandez, 89-70.
Consistency For Fernandez And Moreno Goes Farther Than This Year:
Both Fernandez and Moreno have been among the most consistent drivers in CART over the last few years. Starting with Fontana in 1997, Fernandez has finished sixth or better in 29 of 49 events placing in the top-10 at 35 races and in the points 37 times. Moreno, over a two-year span, has finished in the top-10 in 14 of his last 26 CART starts and in the points 17 times.
Patrick Racing Tops Standings For Fifth Time In Last Six Years:
Patrick Racing has led the CART championship race at some point during the season in five of the last six years. They topped the standings at the halfway point of the season for the first time during that span this year.
McGee Holds Record For Most Wins:
Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee is tops on the all-time wins list for a General-Team Manager/Chief Mechanic with 88. McGee is the only Manager/Chief Mechanic to win a championship in four decades (60's - 90's).
He has at least one victory in each of his last five decades (his 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's) and a least one victory in each of the last five decades (60's - 00).
Patrick Racing Facts:
Patrick Racing, in its 28th year of competition, is one of the most successful teams in the history of Champ Car racing with 43 victories, three Indianapolis 500 wins and two national championships. U. E. "Pat" Patrick is the co-founder of CART and the "father" of the Dayton Indy Lights Series.