IRL: Fontana: Fernandez Racing race report

Fernandez Wins Toyota Indy 400 Adrian Fernandez scored his third career IRL IndyCar® Series win this afternoon, claiming victory in the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway. This was Fernandez's second career win on the two-mile [won ...

Fernandez Wins Toyota Indy 400

Adrian Fernandez scored his third career IRL IndyCar® Series win this afternoon, claiming victory in the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway. This was Fernandez's second career win on the two-mile [won at California Speedway in 1999], and his 11th major open-wheel victory. Fernandez, who made his 14th career IndyCar Series start today, has won three of the past five IndyCar Series events, and has moved into fourth place in the championship standings.

Fernandez, who started fourth, passed Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Sam Hornish Jr. for the lead on the opening lap of the race. He lost the lead during the first round of pit stops when the team elected to change tires while others only took on fuel. Fernandez eventually fell back to 14th position after battling push-loose handling, but began to rebound after his second pit stop. He moved into fourth position on Lap 84 where he stayed until the latter stages of the race. Fernandez passed Buddy Rice for third and Castroneves for second with just under 20 laps remaining. On lap 193, Fernandez briefly passed Tony Kanaan for the lead but the side-by-side battle was followed by a yellow flag which showed Fernandez second to Kanaan. The result was a last lap shootout with Fernandez claiming his third victory of the season by 0.0183 seconds.

Adrian Fernandez, #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:

"What a fantastic day. I am so proud of the team. Everybody has worked so well in these last five races. It is something that has come from a lot of heart and a lot of sweat and a lot of hard work from everyone to make the car the way we have it. The car has been key to be able to win races. I cannot do this alone. We had great pit stops, a great strategy, and great spotting from Jeff [McComb]. These past five races have been so exciting with three wins and one second place. This is by far the best season that I have ever had in my career, and doing it with your own team is so special. I am very proud of everybody. It was great to be able to fight for the win with Tony Kanaan and for him to clinch the championship. He is a great champion. I have raced with him for many years, and I have seen him grow since Indy Lights. For me, it was fantastic to be able to fight with him that last lap side-by-side and to win the race. I have to thank everyone involved with us -- Honda, our sponsors Quaker State, Telmex and Tecate, everyone -- and the whole Fernandez Racing team who have been working tremendously well."

Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:

"I believe I said it at Chicago two weeks ago, how fantastic this guy really is and this just goes to prove it. This is another notch in his gun belt. This is a fantastic result by Adrian and the entire #5 team today. This is the fourth year of Fernandez Racing. Our partners at Honda have obviously created quite an engine, and I have to say thanks to Firestone as well. Our partners from Mexico -- Quaker State, Telmex and Tecate -- have stayed with us through some pretty thin beginning years, and were quite concerned about our transition into the Indy Racing League this year. With our second car, Kosuke [Matsuura] has added a second dimension to our team whereby we can try several things on a weekend with a limited testing schedule. Part of the credit goes to Kosuke and the Super Aguri team as well. It is a combination of having all 50 people pulling in the same direction every day of the week. John Ward, Chris Finch and John Dick [race engineers] have done a tremendous job with the engineering. Since it came down to Honda versus Honda on that last lap, I think we have to thank Panoz G Force for a little less drag. We didn't win by much. This is probably the most competitive league that Adrian and I have ever participated in, and a little bit means an awful lot."

-fr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tom Anderson , Sam Hornish Jr.