CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto Patrick Racing race day summary

TORONTO, CANADA – SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2000 -- Round 10 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series – Adrian Fernandez finished second and Roberto Moreno 13th today at the Molson Indy Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in ...

TORONTO, CANADA – SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2000 -- Round 10 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series – Adrian Fernandez finished second and Roberto Moreno 13th today at the Molson Indy Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada.

Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, started ninth, but started moving through the field from the opening lap. Battling with the leaders throughout the contest, he took the lead just before his second pit stop and exited the pits in first. However, eventual winner Michael Andretti, who pitted three laps earlier had a run on him and tires that were warmed up. Adrian was unable to hold off the charging Andretti, but slotted into second place where he remained for the duration of the race. "It was a very difficult race…a hard race," said Fernandez. "There were hardly any yellow flags, so there was no time to rest. The pace was very strong and I was just trying to save fuel and stay with the leaders. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth was good from the beginning. I made a couple of good passes at the start of the race then had to defend my position against (Oriol) Servia. We managed to stay with the leaders and still conserve fuel. After my second pit stop we came out in first place, but were on cold tires and I couldn't hold off Michael (Andretti)."

The 35-year-old Mexican, who has struggled with mechanical problems and a streak of bad luck for much of the early portion of the season, never the less remains in the thick of the championship points race. He scored his second podium finish of the season today and earned 16 points. Fernandez is now eighth in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 61 points. He is just five points out of fifth place and 29 behind teammate and points leader Moreno. The talented Mexican has qualified in the top-10 in seven of ten races. He has finished seven of ten races, placed in the top-10 six times, including a win in Rio, and finished in the points seven times this year.

"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team has struggled during the first part of the season, so my main goal today was to finish the race," Fernandez said. I didn't want to do anything stupid. With the way the first half of the season has gone, I just didn't want to make a mistake. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing crew did such a great job today preparing the car and in the pits during the race. I am so happy. It is great to be back on the podium. Now we just have to put together a string of good finishes and get back into the thick of the championship race."

Moreno, piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, had an equally exciting, if more frustrating day. Starting 16th, the personable Brazilian, drove a patient race, but steadily moved up the field. Utilizing a fuel conservation race strategy that paid off, he was able to make his second pit stop four laps later than most other competitors (Adrian pitted three laps after most of the field). The extra four laps allowed him to pick up valuable track time and positions. Moreno was in 11th place when the round of pit stops began, moved into first place for two laps while the leaders were in the pits, then pitted. After a solid stop by the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew he rejoined the contest in fifth place. Running with the lead pack he was pressuring rookie Cristiano da Matta for fourth place when, he suddenly was passed by five cars. It was quickly determined that he had a gearbox problem. With just 20 laps remaining in the competition, Moreno, who dropped to 11th place, was trying to nurse the car home and pick up two championship points. However, with 13 laps remaining the car gave out forcing him from the contest.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth had gearbox problem. On the downshift it doesn't go completely into gear. It tosses back and that destroyed the gears. Once it does that it is just a matter of time before it all goes apart. It's a shame because we had a great race strategy again and we made up a lot of positions. We were going to have another top five finish. But, will keep our heads up and we'll go for the next one," said Moreno.

Roberto remains in first place in the point's race, but saw his lead dwindle to two points over Andretti, 90-88. He has finished seven of ten races, each time in the top-10 including four podium showings, a win at Cleveland, seconds at Miami and Portland and a third in Japan. Moreno has now qualified in the top-10 in eight of ten races, with one pole. He is first in laps completed, first in miles completed and third in laps led.

Next up for Patrick Racing is the Michigan 500, July 21-23, at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno