ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN - FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2000 - Round 14 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez is fifth and Roberto Moreno 11th on the grid following today's provisional qualifying for the Motorola 220 at Road America in ...
ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN - FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2000 - Round 14 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez is fifth and Roberto Moreno 11th on the grid following today's provisional qualifying for the Motorola 220 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, topped the speed charts following the morning practice session running a time of 101.560 seconds (143.490 mph). In afternoon provisional qualifying, he ran with the second, or "fast" group based on his 12th place qualifying position at Mid-Ohio (the previous road/street circuit). Fernandez and the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew made very few changes to the car for qualifying and were strong from the start of the session. Unfortunately, there were several red flags in his qualifying group, which inhibited his ability to build up his tire pressure and get a really fast lap. However, following the last red flag track officials declared that teams would be given their "out lap" (first time around the track after leaving the pits) plus a lap, then the checkered flag would fall. At Road America, laps are timed at the base of the hill before the pits, which meant that each car would receive two timed laps. Fernandez began his last stint fifth on the grid with a quick time of 100.581 seconds (144.886 mph). On his final lap he was running .3 of a second faster then his quickest lap, which would have put him on the provisional pole, when he spun just before Turn 14. The lost quick lap was frustrating for the Tecatge/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team, but did not dampen their spirits as their alternately praised and teased Fernandez upon his return to the pits.
"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth was very good. We were fastest in this morning's practice so we didn't really change much on the car. We basically just fine-tuned it at the start of qualifying. I would have been a lot happier with our qualifying effort today if I had finished that last lap. Unfortunately, I was rushing a little bit and went off into the grass. The car doesn't really like it when you do that. From our data it looked like it was going to be a very fast time, so that was a little frustrating. The main thing is the car is very good and we look good for final qualifying tomorrow."
Fernandez, who is on a streak that has seen him score points in 10 of his last 11 contests, is currently fourth in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 87 points. He is 12 points out of third and holds his highest position in the standings this season. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has finished ten of 13 races this year 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 and miles completed, and ninth in laps led. Fernandez has been very strong at Road America. In seven previous 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.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, had a more difficult day, but ended up pleased with the performance of the car. After making steady progress during the first part of the morning practice session, he was forced to jump into his back-up car following a spin at about the halfway point of the 90-minute practice. Moreno ended up 15th on the speed charts following the morning practice session with a time of 104.322 seconds (139.622 mph). In provisional qualifying, Moreno went out with the first or "slow" group because he qualified 15th at Mid-Ohio. During his first stint he immediately moved into third place in his group. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team continued to make adjustments to the car and Moreno continued to improve his time, but not his position within the group. At the end of the session he had a quick time of 101.511 seconds (143.559). His 11th place position on the provisional grid moves him into the second or "fast" group for tomorrow's final qualifying which makes it considerably easier to move up the grid.
"I am very happy with the set-up of the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth. We made a little mistake with the brakes in today's qualifying. The brake scoops we used were too small. The car was running very well and I was going much faster so I was using more brakes. Unfortunately, with the small scoops I had to use twice as much effort to stop the car. Other than that, the car is quite good. I am really looking forward to final qualifying tomorrow. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team should have a very good final qualifying effort."
Moreno, who is currently third in the championship standings with 100 points, is looking to move up a notch in the point's race this weekend. He trails series leader Michael Andretti by 25 points and Gil de Ferran by six. The 41-year-old Brazilian is having a season of firsts in his first campaign with Patrick Racing. 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 and miles completed, and fifth in laps led. He has qualified in the top-10 in eight of 14 races, with one pole.
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.
Final qualifying for the Motorola 220 will begin at 1:45 pm (CT) tomorrow. The race will be run on Sunday, August 20 at 1:00 p.m. (CT) and will be televised tape delayed on ABC at 4:00 p.m. (ET)