CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Fernandez race report

Fernandez on top of the world at Portland. Adrian Fernandez claimed his eighth Champ Car career win today with a victory in the G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway. Fernandez, who started third, passed Paul Tracy for the lead on Lap...

Fernandez on top of the world at Portland.

Adrian Fernandez claimed his eighth Champ Car career win today with a victory in the G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway. Fernandez, who started third, passed Paul Tracy for the lead on Lap 85 and never looked back, setting his fastest lap and the second-fastest lap of the race overall with only five tours remaining around the 1.969-mile road course before the checkered flag.

Today's win is the first for Fernandez Racing, which was formed in the fall of 2000 by Fernandez and Tom Anderson, Co-Owner and Managing Director. Fernandez is the only active owner/driver in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The last race win by an owner/driver was Bobby Rahal at Nazareth in 1992. Fernandez has moved into fifth position in the championship standings.

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"I am just so proud of the team. We put it all together this weekend. The car was really fast after our final pit stop. We made a small adjustment to the tires pressures and that was the key. The Bridgestone tires were fantastic. I managed to push pretty hard and Paul [Tracy] made a mistake coming into the last corner. I wasn't as close as I wanted but I wasn't going to give up - whenever he brakes, I am going to brake later. It was a great feeling to take the checkered flag first today.

"This is the first win for Fernandez Racing and I am very happy. We have been trying to do this for a long time and finally everything came together. This means a lot to me. This is one of the most important wins of my career for sure. We had a great car and great pit stops. I am just very happy. Tecate was a sponsor here so it is great to be on the podium for them and for Quaker State and Telmex. It is tough to win in this series as a driver because it is so competitive, and to do so as an owner/driver really means a lot."

FAST FACTS: This was his 10th Champ Car appearance at Portland and his 168th Champ Car career start-- currently sits fifth in the championship standings with 63 points-- recorded five top-seven finishes in eight rounds of 2003 competition to date -- second at Long Beach, fourth in Monterrey, Mexico, sixth in Milwaukee, seventh at Laguna Seca and the win at Portland today-- has qualified seventh or better in all but one race to date [Germany], claiming his best starting position of third in St. Petersburg and Portland-- has finished over 50 percent of his 51 Champ Car career road course starts in the top 10-- previous career best road course finish was a win at Mid-Ohio in 1998; career best road course starts was pole at Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with eight career wins and three pole positions-- 38 years old from Mexico City-- is the third most-winning driver in the current Champ Car field-- ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts-- has 21 Champ Car career podiums to his credit-- last win prior to today was at Australia in 2000-- last pole position was at Milwaukee in 2002.

Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:

"The emotion is extremely high as everyone would expect. You can't say enough or give enough credit to Adrian for all that he has been through with a new team. I want to thank Tecate, Quaker State and Telmex for the confidence that they have shown to stay with us for these years. We delivered what we promised at our first meeting back in Mexico City in November of 2000. We talked about winning then and today we finally backed it up. We just have to thank our sponsors for being with us on this deal and we have to thank Bridgestone and the Ford Motor Company for their support. We just can't say enough thanks to everyone."

Gustavo del Campo, Team Manager:

"It was a beautiful weekend for Fernandez Racing. After two-and-a-half years [since forming the team], this was a great result for everyone -- the sponsors, the crew. Everything was perfect today. We had a very good car and we had an excellent driver."

For more information, please visit www.fernandezracing.net.

-fr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Tom Anderson