CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Fernandez Racing preview

CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round Six G.I. Joe's 200 Portland International Raceway -- Portland, Ore. -- June 14-16 Broadcast: Sunday, June 16 -- CBS Sports 3:30 pm EST Circuit: 1.969-mile permanent road course Race: 115 laps/226.4 ...

CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round Six
G.I. Joe's 200
Portland International Raceway -- Portland, Ore. -- June 14-16
Broadcast: Sunday, June 16 -- CBS Sports 3:30 pm EST
Circuit: 1.969-mile permanent road course
Race: 115 laps/226.4 miles

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

Fernandez Looking to Rebound at Portland

* Will be making his ninth Champ Car start at Portland
* Best finish at Portland was fourth in 1999
* Best starting position at Portland was fifth in 1999
* Started 23rd last year and finished 19th
* Has finished in the points in six of eight starts at Portland
* Has finished over half (55%) of his 44 career road course starts in the top 10
* Career-best finish on a road course is a win at Mid-Ohio in 1998; best career start on a road course was pole position at the 2002 Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico

On Portland: "After last weekend, I am looking forward to a good race in Portland. I knew before I watched a tape of the Laguna Seca race that I had touched Michel [Jourdain] going into the first turn. After watching a replay of the start, it was definitely my fault. I started the whole chain reaction. My brakes were not up to temperature and it just caught me out. Normally in these types of situations I am pretty careful to make it through the first corner. This time it just caught me out. I feel bad for the other guys. It was my mistake and I apologize to the other drivers that were involved.

"We had a good car at Laguna, maybe not a winning car, but I felt we could have fought for a top-six finish. So, we are looking forward to Portland and to getting back into the points chase. After last weekend we dropped back to 11th, but it is still very early in the championship and a lot of things can happen. Portland is a track that I really like. We have been running competitively, and I feel positive about this weekend. It is important to qualify at the front, and the first corner is going to be even more critical than in Laguna. In terms of the race, that is going to be key and hopefully everyone will get through in one piece. This is racing and you have to push the envelope and take some risks. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don't. Hopefully we can come away with some good points for the future."

FAST FACTS: Only owner/driver in current Champ Car field--Tied for fourth among active drivers in career wins with seven-- will be making his 151st Champ Car career start and is ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts-- currently sits 11th in the championship with 28 points-- has scored 11 podium finishes in 90 career road/street course starts-- three of his seven Champ Car career wins were on road/street circuits -- Australia (2000), Mid-Ohio (1998) and Toronto (1996).

Shinji Nakano, Driver -- #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

Nakano Hopes for Better Luck This Weekend

* Will be making his third Champ Car start at Portland
* Started 18th last year but retired after contact on Lap 38 and was credited with 22nd place
* Finished 11th at Portland in 2000 after starting 21st
* Has 13 career road course starts to his credit, posting his best finish of 11th at Portland in 2000

On Portland: "I like the track. It's a beautiful circuit and one of the best tracks here in the United States. The big thing for us is that hopefully we will have better luck here. The team is working really hard to improve and I think this will be much better weekend than we had in Monterey. I'm really looking forward to the race. The biggest challenge at this track is overcoming a lot of understeer, so the key is to find a car with just a little bit of understeer. We learned a lot at Laguna. It was really our first time at a permanent road course other than Monterrey, Mexico, which is a different type of circuit and the track conditions were different. I think we found a few things after Laguna Seca to improve the car. If we can put all of these things together for Portland, I think we can find a good setup."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 43rd career Champ Car start-- is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernandez Racing-- currently sits 18th in the championship with four points-- has 25 career road/street course starts, recording two top-10 finishes at Toronto (2001) and Houston (2000).

For more information, please visit www.fernandezracing.net. For additional information on the CART FedEx Championship Series, please visit www.cart.com.

-fr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano