LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Patrick Racing, which tested only the second day of the two-day test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, made steady progress and came away pleased with its results. Since five of the first six races in the 2000 CART...
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Patrick Racing, which tested only the second day of the two-day test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, made steady progress and came away pleased with its results.
Since five of the first six races in the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series were run on ovals, Patrick Racing had not tested on a road course since March, although it did race on the Long Beach street circuit on April 16. Therefore, the Mid-Ohio test was crucial, particularly in light of the fact that the next four races are all on road or street courses.
"This was a very important test for the team," said Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "We had some excellent road course tests during the preseason, but because of the schedule, we really had to focus on oval testing during the last part of the preseason. The test in Mid-Ohio was key. We tried some different configurations with the car to get the information we needed for the upcoming road and street races."
A total of 25 drivers in 28 cars tested at Mid-Ohio. Adrian Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, ran a time of 67.404 seconds. Fernandez was pleased with the test.
"This was an important test for the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Team," Fernandez said. "We haven't had a lot of opportunities to work with the car on the road courses since the preseason, so we were making a lot of changes to the car to see how it would react in different situations. Obviously, you always want to be the fastest at the end of any testing session, but I think the most important thing for us was to learn what the car likes and what it doesn't like. We were just looking to get the car balanced, and we accomplished that."
Fernandez, who is a favorite to take the CART FedEx Championship Series title this year, is currently in 8th in the championship standings with 38 points. He is just six points out of 4th place. The determined and outgoing Mexican has overcome a difficult start to the season. He failed to finish the first two races, due to mechanical problems. Since then he has placed in the top-10 in four consecutive races, including a victory at Rio, his sixth career CART win.
Roberto Moreno, piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth turned in a time of 67.933, good for 20th overall. Moreno was also happy with the results of the test.
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team tired a lot of different things during the Mid-Ohio test and I think we learned a lot for the upcoming races. We basically took both Adrian and my cars and went in different directions. We did a lot of development testing to figure out which way to go. What we have to do now is analyze the results and take the best from what we learned off of each car and put it together. We definitely figured out where we are and what direction we need to head."
Moreno, who is second in the CART FedEx Championship Series standings with 52 points, has established himself as a championship contender after only six races. He is just seven points out of first. Now in his 7th CART season and first with Patrick Racing, he is making the most of just his third full season of CART competition.
The talented and personable Brazilian has been a model of consistency. He has qualified in the top-10 in five of six races and finished in the top -10 in five of six races, including three top-5 placements with two podium showing. His best finish is a career-best tying second in the season opener in Miami.
Moreno has finished five of six races -- he was running second when he hit the wall in Nazareth. He is second in laps completed (980 out of 991) and miles completed (1,333.981 out of 1344.387). Significantly, he has accomplished all of this on ovals, which is not his strong suit, given his Karting and Formula 1, 3000, 2 and Ford background.
Both Patrick Racing drivers will test again at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. on Tuesday, June 14. the team will then proceed to Detroit for the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, June 16-18.
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