CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing looking for strong finish at Michigan

JACKSON, MI - - July 20, 2000 - - Patrick Racing will be looking for another strong performance on a super-speedway oval this weekend at the Michigan 500 on the 2-mile Michigan Speedway oval in Brooklyn, Michigan. Patrick Racing has had been...

JACKSON, MI - - July 20, 2000 - - Patrick Racing will be looking for another strong performance on a super-speedway oval this weekend at the Michigan 500 on the 2-mile Michigan Speedway oval in Brooklyn, Michigan.

Patrick Racing has had been particularly strong on the super-speedway ovals over the last two years. In four races, a total of eight starts, the team has qualified in the top-10 four times including two poles (Michigan and Fontana in 1998) and another front row start (Michigan in 1999). They have finished in the top-10 four times with a win (Fontana 1999) and two fourth place showings (Michigan and Fontana in 1998). Since 1995 Patrick Racing drivers have made 16 starts in 500-mile races. They have 11 top-10 starting positions with three poles (U. S. 500 in 1997 in addition to the poles in 1998), and have finished in the top-10 six times with four top five placements and two wins (Michigan in 1995 in addition to Fontana last year). FedEx Championship Series leader, Roberto Moreno, will be racing at Michigan Speedway for the sixth time (four 500-milers and one 250-mile race) in his seven year CART career. It will also be only his seventh career 500-mile race (Indianapolis and Pocono in 1986 in addition to the four Michigan races). In his four previous 500-mile races at Michigan, Moreno has two top six finishes with a best of third in 1996 at the inaugural U. S. 500.

"Michigan Speedway, like any super-speedway oval is about a good set-up and team race strategy," said Moreno. "I am very confident that the Visteon/Patrick Racing team will provide me with both because the team has a lot of experience on this track and a tremendous record. We have solid data from the past races and we learned quite a bit from our test here last month. That should help us with the set-up."

Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, is coming off a difficult race last week in Toronto. He qualified 16th, his lowest starting position of the year, but worked his way through the field with the help of a good race strategy and strong pit work from the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew. Moreno was running in fifth and challenging for fourth, when a gearbox problem forced him from the competition. The 41-year-old Brazilian, however, remains in first place in the championship standings. He leads Michael Andretti by two points, 90-88. Moreno has finished seven of ten races this year, each time in the top-10 including four podium showings, a win at Cleveland, seconds at Miami and Portland and a third in Japan. Moreno has now qualified in the top-10 in eight of ten races, with one pole. He is first in laps and miles completed and third in laps led.

"With the championship as competitive as it is, things are still very wide open," Moreno said. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing team needs to continue the hard work and teamwork that has brought us to the position we currently hold. We need to finish races and finish in the points for the rest of the season. That is how you win a championship. We will always try and win races, but the most important thing is to be consistent for the remainder of the year."

Adrian Fernandez will be making his sixth start at Michigan Speedway, however it will be the seventh time he has qualified. In 1996, he qualified second at the inaugural U. S. 500, but was the victim of a parade lap incident that prevented him from starting the race (he practiced, but did not qualify in 1993). In five previous races at Michigan, Fernandez has qualified on the front row twice, both with Patrick Racing, taking the pole in 1998. He has finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of third in 1995. Fernandez won his last 500-mile super-speedway race, the 1999 Marlboro 500 at MIS' sister track, the California Speedway in Fontana, California

"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team should be strong at MIS," Fernandez said. "We have a lot of good data from the last few years to work with and we were able to learn a few things from our test here last month."

Fernandez piloting the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth is coming off a strong performance last week at Toronto. He qualified ninth, then drove a strong race and got outstanding pit work from the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew to finish second. The 35-year-old Mexican has now scored points in seven of his last eight races (including Nazareth) and is currently eighth in the championship standings with 61 points. He is just five points out of fifth place and 29 behind teammate and points leader Moreno. Fernandez has qualified in the top-10 in seven of ten races. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has finished seven of ten races this year, placing in the top-10 six times, including a win in Rio, and finishing in the points seven times.

"Toronto was a good race for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team," said Fernandez. "It was a really good feeling to be back on the podium. Hopefully, we have seen the last of our bad luck and can just focus on racing. We are back in the championship race, but we need to keep paying attention to detail and performing well in the races if we are going to make a run at the championship."

PATRICK RACING NOTES:

Patrick Racing Tops Statistical Charts:

Combining both Roberto and Adrian's statistics, Patrick Racing, as a team, leads several categories. The team is first in points, prize money, laps and miles complete, second in wins and third in laps led.

Patrick Racing Tops Standings For Fifth Time In Last Six Years:

Patrick Racing has led the championship race five of the last six years. They top the standings at the halfway point of the season for the first time during that span.

Patrick Racing Leads Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge:

Patrick Racing is first and fifth in the Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge. The Visteon/Patrick Racing crew leads the standings with 77 points, while the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew, which finished first last week at Toronto, is now fifth in the standings with 63 points.

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, which is entering 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.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno