ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN - SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 2000 - Round 14 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez qualified fifth and Roberto Moreno 11th for tomorrow's Motorola 220 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The Motorola...
ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN - SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 2000 - Round 14 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez qualified fifth and Roberto Moreno 11th for tomorrow's Motorola 220 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The Motorola 220 will be run at 1:00 p.m. (CT) tomorrow, Sunday, August 20, and will be televised tape delayed on ABC at 4:00 p.m. (ET)
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, began and ended the day in the same position on the grid. In Friday's provisional qualifying he ended up fifth after running a quick lap of 100.581 seconds (144.886 mph). In Saturday morning's practice he had the fourth quickest time of the session turning a fast lap of 101.631 seconds (143.389 mph). The time compared favorably with Friday's morning practice time of 101.560 seconds (143.490 mph), when he was the fastest of the session. The 101.560 placed him third on the two-day combined practice report. Although Fernandez was slower in today's morning practice the, Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team was cautiously confident entering today's final qualifying because he was among the quickest drivers in every practice and qualifying session. Fernandez had also lost time in the previous day's qualifying to red flags and had one very fast lap nullified by a spin. However, in final qualifying the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth was just not quite up to the challenge. Fernandez ran a very respectable lap of 100.719 seconds (144.688), but that was only the seventh quickest time of the session. Therefore, his provisional qualifying time of 100.581 remained his fastest qualifying time and kept him fifth on the grid. He will start on the inside of row three.
"Basically, I didn't feel the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth was as well balanced as yesterday. The car was good, but not good enough to take the pole. We did what we could to get the most out of the car during qualifying. The biggest thing is we have a good car for the race. We stated fifth here last year and finished third, so hopefully this year we can win the race starting from the fifth position. I am very confident for tomorrow."
The fifth place starting spot for tomorrow's race snaps a streak of three consecutive qualifying efforts outside the top-10. It also ties Fernandez' best starting position at Road America achieved last year. Fernandez has now qualified in the top-10 at seven of 14 races and five of seven road/street circuits. In tomorrow's race the 35-year-old Mexican will be trying to move into the top three in the FedEx Championship Series standings and continue a streak that has seen him score points in 10 of his last 11 race. Fernandez is currently fifth in the championship race with 87 points. He is just one point out of fourth and 12 points out of third. This is the highest Fernandez has been in the championship 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 is fourth in laps and miles completed, and ninth in laps led. He has been very strong at Road America. In seven previous starts he has finished in the top six four times with a best finish of third, last year.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, like his teammate, started and finished the day in the same spot on the grid. He ran a time of 101.511 seconds (143.559 mph) in yesterday's provisional qualifying placing him 11th on the grid. In today's morning practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing team continued to make progress. Moreno's fastest time in morning practice was 102.139 seconds (142.676 mph), seventh overall, a big improvement over the 104.322 (139.622 mph) he ran yesterday in morning practice when he ended up 15th. He was eighth on the two-day combined practice report. In final qualifying the Visteon/Patrick Racing team continued to improve their time, although not their position. Hampered by a boost problem, Moreno was only able to get in one good stint, but made the most of it running a quick lap of 101.071 seconds (144.184 mph). The time, which was almost a half second faster than yesterday, was the tenth fastest of today's qualifying session and the 11th fastest overall. He will start on the inside of row six.
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team made great improvement with the set-up of the car today. We are not as quick as we would like, but I think we have a good car for the race. We had a problem with the boost during our first stint. So I came in and the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew did some work on the car. We put on the second set of tires and went out for our second stint, but we had a bit of a push (understeer). We were limited to the one run because of the boost problem so I had to get the most out of the car. I had to work around the push problem, so I really concentrated hard and anticipated the corners and got a good lap. We improved our time and the car from yesterday to today, so overall I am pleased. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team will take an 11th place starting position for this race happily."
This is Moreno's best qualifying effort in his last five attempts. He has qualified in the top-10 in eight of 14 races, with one pole, and five of six road/street circuits. This is his third highest starting position at Road America behind a pair of thirds in 1985 and '86. The 41-year-old Brazilian, 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 Weston, Florida resident, who led the point standings earlier this year, 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 and a win, his CART career first. Moreno is third in laps and miles completed, and fifth in laps led. This will be the fifth time Moreno has competed at Road America. In his previous four races his best 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.