CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez Racing Molson Indy Toronto CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 10 Exhibition Place -- Toronto, Ontario, Canada -- July 13-15 Circuit: 1.755-mile Temporary Street Course Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- ...

Fernandez Racing
Molson Indy Toronto
CART FedEx Championship Series -- Round 10
Exhibition Place -- Toronto, Ontario, Canada -- July 13-15
Circuit: 1.755-mile Temporary Street Course

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Reynard/Firestone:

* Will be making his eighth Champ Car appearance in Toronto
* Claimed first career Champ Car win at Toronto in 1996
* Posted a second-place finish last year after starting ninth
* Has finished ninth or better in five of seven starts at Toronto
* Best qualifying position was third in 1996

On his past performance at Toronto: "Toronto is one those tracks, like Cleveland, where I've done well in the past. Some tracks suit your [driving style] better than others. I have a different style of driving than Shinji. I left-foot brake and he brakes with the right. Really, in the end, it's just a matter of trying to find a way of making the car do what you want for your style. Experience helps. Knowing what you need on certain tracks because of different circumstances -- like the frequent pavement changes at Toronto. It's a little like Bryan [Herta] at Laguna Seca. He just knows what he needs from the car in specific areas to make a difference when the time comes to show it."

On this weekend: "The fans here are great, and I love the city. The race is always well attended and it's a great venue for CART. I'm very excited because I'm now in the fast group for qualifying and we should be able to take advantage of two cars, having one car in each session, and improve from there. I'm looking forward to this race and to start not just collecting points, but getting to the podium which I believe we are pretty close to doing. I'm also happy that Honda's appeal came through [on the spacer issue]. I believe that put us at a disadvantage the past few races."

On his strong run at Cleveland: "Cleveland was obviously a high point for us because we were running very competitively all weekend. I felt very strong and very confident. I didn't put a foot wrong and neither did the team. Unfortunately we had a problem that was out of our control and put us out of the race and what could have been a top-four finish. It shows that the team is improving and we are at the next level."

FAST FACTS: Is the only owner/driver in the current CART field ** will be making his 134th career Champ Car start at Toronto ** his best road/street course start in 2001 was second at Cleveland ** his best oval start in 2001 was sixth at Nazareth ** best finish to date this season was fifth at Milwaukee ** his best road/street course finish this year was 12th at Detroit ** recorded his last podium finish ten races ago when he won the Honda Indy 300 in Australia ** has seven career Champ Car wins ** finished second in the championship last season ** fifth most-winning driver in the current CART field.

Shinji Nakano, #52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard/Firestone:

* Will be making his second Champ Car appearance in Toronto
* Started 21st last year, but retired with an electrical problem after 56 laps and was credited with 14th place

On the Toronto circuit: "The track is interesting. In terms of setup, you have to get good traction. There are a lot of slow corners, and the grip level of the track is pretty low. You have to find good traction and have a stable car. The track is pretty bumpy and the car can be nervous under braking. We have to concentrate on this and traction with the setup of the car. Passing is difficult. There is one place at the first corner, another at the second and maybe one or two other corners where you can pass if someone makes a mistake and you can take advantage of the opportunity."

On his misfortunes the past two races: "Well, it's racing. These things happen -- there's a problem with the car or I make a mistake. We just have to keep working to try to put everything together. On the team side, the team is doing a great job and Adrian and I are getting along together pretty well. We just need the results right now."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 26th career Champ Car start at Toronto ** his best road/street course start in 2001 was ninth at Detroit ** his best oval qualifying in 2001 was fifth at Texas ** best finish to date this season was eighth in Motegi ** his best road/street course finish this year was 12th in Long Beach ** is in his sophomore season of Champ Car competition with three top-10 finishes to his credit ** has the benefit of a teammate for the first time in his CART career ** hails from Formula One with 33 F1 starts and nine top-10 finishes in two years of competition.

-FR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Shinji Nakano