IRL: Indy 500: Adrian Fernandez preview

Fernandez Back in the Saddle for Indianapolis 500 After a seven-month absence from IRL IndyCar Series competition, Adrian Fernandez returns to the cockpit this month to contest the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. Fernandez has partnered...

Fernandez Back in the Saddle for Indianapolis 500

After a seven-month absence from IRL IndyCar Series competition, Adrian Fernandez returns to the cockpit this month to contest the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. Fernandez has partnered with motorsports veteran Morris Nunn to form Mo Nunn Fernandez Racing. The team will field the #5 Investment Properties of America Panoz/Honda/Firestone for Fernandez, who prepares to make his fourth Indianapolis 500 start.

Fernandez enjoyed the "best year of my career" in 2004, capping off his debut in the IndyCar Series with wins at Kentucky, Chicagoland and California Speedway and a fifth-place ranking in the championship. While the lack of a full budget prevented Fernandez from contesting the 2005 season, he has been anything but idle. Fernandez has kept busy with his role as team owner alongside Tom Anderson for the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing and Delphi Fernandez Racing teams which field Kosuke Matsuura and Scott Sharp respectively. He also made his Busch Series race debut in March, finishing 10th in his hometown of Mexico City, prior to heading to Colombia for his wedding to Catalina Maya.

Fernandez will turn his first laps of the 2005 IndyCar Series season when official practice begins this Tuesday, May 10, at 1:00 pm ET.

At-A-Glance:

* Will be preparing for his fourth Indianapolis 500 start

* Qualified sixth and finished seventh last year, the highest finishing position by a Mexican driver in the history of the Indianapolis 500

* Will be making his first IndyCar Series appearance of the 2005 season

* Last IndyCar Series race was Texas on October 17, 2004

* Last drove an IndyCar Series car on December 8, 2004, during a Firestone tire test on the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval

* Made his IndyCar Series career debut in 2004, winning three of the last six races of the season to finish fifth in the championship

Adrian Fernandez, #5 Investment Properties of America Panoz/Honda/Firestone:

"I have really been looking forward to driving again. The last IndyCar race I was able to attend was Phoenix, and I felt like a dog without a bone. I'm anxious to get back in the car and pick up where we left off at Indy last year. Both Kosuke [Matsuura] and I were strong all month, and this year, with the addition of Scott Sharp, I think we will really mount a challenge. Morris and Peter [Parrott, team manager] have done a great job in putting this program together alongside Investment Properties of America. Physically, I am more than ready. Mentally, it may take me a few laps to get back into a rhythm but I still have a lot of momentum from our results last year. I am looking forward to it."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ FAST FACTS: Will be preparing for his 16th IRL IndyCar Series career start-- major open-wheel career record includes 193 starts, 11 wins and 25 podiums-- last win was at California Speedway on October 3, 2004-- last race contested was the Busch Series race in Mexico City on March 6 where Fernandez finished 10th in his series' debut-- 42 years old from Mexico City, Mexico-- currently resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Mo Nunn Fernandez Racing: Motorsports veterans Morris Nunn and Adrian Fernandez announced a partnership in March of this year to form Mo Nunn Fernandez Racing and contest the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. Day-to-day operations for Mo Nunn Fernandez Racing will be handled by team manager

Peter Parrott. The team operates alongside Fernandez's other entities in partnership with Tom Anderson - Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, which fields 2004 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Kosuke Matsuura (#55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone), and Delphi Fernandez Racing, which fields eight-time IndyCar Series race winner Scott Sharp (#8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone).

-www.fernandezracing.net

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Adrian Fernandez , Tom Anderson , Morris Nunn , Kosuke Matsuura , Mo Nunn