CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Fernandez Racing preview

Toronto race one of firsts for Fernandez The Champ Car World Series crosses the Canadian border this weekend for one of the most popular venues on the 2003 schedule -- the Molson Indy Toronto. The temporary street course, site of Round 10 of the...

Toronto race one of firsts for Fernandez

The Champ Car World Series crosses the Canadian border this weekend for one of the most popular venues on the 2003 schedule -- the Molson Indy Toronto. The temporary street course, site of Round 10 of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, ranks as one of the most successful circuits for Adrian Fernandez, who has visited the podium there three times.

Fernandez, the only competing owner/driver in the field, claimed his first win in Champ Car competition at Toronto in 1996. His third-place finish at Toronto in 2001 -- a back-up to his second-place run the year before -- was the first podium for Fernandez Racing, which was formed in the fall of 2000 by Fernandez and Tom Anderson. Fernandez has finished ninth or better on the challenging circuit the past five years. He will be chasing his second win this weekend as an owner/driver after his victory in Portland three weeks ago.

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

* Only competing owner/driver in the Champ Car field
* Will be making his 10th Champ Car start in Toronto and his 170th Champ Car career start
* Won his first Champ Car race at Toronto in 1996
* Has finished on the podium in three of nine starts -- 1st in 1996, 2nd in 2000 and 3rd in 2001
* Third-place finish in 2001 was the first podium finish for Fernandez Racing
* Has finished in ninth or better in seven of nine starts
* Best starting position was third in 1996
* Finished ninth last year after qualifying 13th
* Claimed his first win as an owner/driver in Portland three weeks ago
* Currently sits seventh in the championship standings with 65 points

"I always look forward to coming to Toronto. The fans are great and it is a beautiful city. I have been on the podium three times in Toronto and have a lot of memories from here -- my first ever race win in Champ Cars, our first podium as Fernandez Racing. Some tracks suit your driving style better than others and Toronto is one of those tracks. I have had some of the most competitive races of my career here, and my expectations are high for this weekend."

FAST FACTS:

Will be making his170th Champ Car career start-- recorded five top-seven finishes in nine rounds of 2003 competition to date -- second at Long Beach, fourth in Monterrey, Mexico, sixth in Milwaukee, seventh at Laguna Seca and first in Portland-- has qualified seventh or better in all but two races to date [Germany/Cleveland], claiming his best starting position of third in St. Petersburg and Portland-- has finished over 50 percent of his 52 Champ Car career street course starts in the top 10 and has eight street course podiums-- career best street course finishes were wins at Toronto in 1996 and Australia in 2000; career best street course start was second at Denver in 2002-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with eight career wins and three pole positions-- 40 years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernandez Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson-- only competing owner/driver in the series-- 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 was at Portland on June 22-- last pole position was at Milwaukee in 2002.

Track Talk

The 1.755-mile downtown temporary street circuit is structured around Toronto's Exhibition Place, home to more than 100 special events, trade and consumer shows annually. Eleven turns and the fast Lakeshore Boulevard straightaway as well as a variety of track surfaces make for exciting racing and leave drivers and their engineers chasing the optimum setup.

Fernandez Racing Race Engineer David Watson estimates top speeds of over 190 mph with minimum speeds in the 42 mph-range as drivers navigate through a series of slow and medium-speed turns from asphalt to concrete, with Turn One leading onto the fastest straightaway. Throughout the course of the 112-lap race, drivers will make 16 gearshifts per lap, and experience a maximum G-force load of 3.4.

Around Town

Adrian Fernandez will be making an appearance and signing autographs at Milestone's Grill & Bar on Thursday evening from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm in a promotion hosted by Labatt. Milestone's is located in the heart of the entertainment district at 132 John Street.

Fernandez will also be one of several drivers on hand at the popular Drivers' VIP Party hosted by Paul Tracy this Friday night at Wayne Gretzky's on Blue Jays Way. The event begins at 7:00 pm.

Trackside

Fernandez will take part in the Champ Car Driver Media Conference at Pit Out this Thursday beginning at 1:00 pm followed by an "Amigos" photo/video shoot with countrymen Michel Jourdain, Rodolfo Lavin and Mario Dominguez at 4:30 pm on pit lane.

The Mexican quartet has been causing quite a stir in the first half of the Champ Car World Series season. A Mexican driver has been on the podium in all but two of nine races held to date, and three of the four are currently in the top 10 of the championship standings. Those results have led to Mexico being a contender in the Nation's Cup for the first time in CART history, trailing Canada by only seven points.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Rodolfo Lavin , Tom Anderson , Michel Jourdain