Fernandez Battles Ill-Handling Car to 14th-Place at Indy Adrian Fernandez finished 14th in his fourth Indianapolis 500 start this afternoon after mechanical gremlins hindered any chance of Fernandez reaching the top of the result sheets....
Fernandez Battles Ill-Handling Car to 14th-Place at Indy
Adrian Fernandez finished 14th in his fourth Indianapolis 500 start this afternoon after mechanical gremlins hindered any chance of Fernandez reaching the top of the result sheets. Fernandez gained two positions at the start, but quickly dropped to 22nd position on his first pit stop after a broken rear air jack. Fernandez returned to the track only to endure an ill-handling car for the remainder of the race despite attempts to make adjustments in the pits. It was later discovered that the rear air jack was protruding from the car disturbing the rear. Additionally, the team also found a problem with the undertray of the car after the race.
Adrian Fernandez, #5 Investment Properties of America Panoz/Honda/Firestone:
"I had a good start. I was pretty happy but then the car started going a little loose. We made a change on the first pit stop and I had a good segment there. We were pretty competitive. After that, the car was just absolutely bad. It was extremely loose. I couldn't drive it. I was very slow. We made some changes during the pit stops but nothing was making it better. We even went two turns down on the front [wing] and nothing was making it better. I knew something was wrong because the car was not normal. We had lost the air jack in the rear and towards the end of the race, we saw that the air jack was actually hanging out. That causes a lot of turbulence in the rear. That was part of our problem. We also found that there were struts that hold the undertray that were broken. All of that was what made the car so bad because I had a similar setup to Kosuke [Matsuura] and he was running well. Unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on all the hard work we did this month, but that's racing. I was very happy to be back here this month with everyone else again. I want to congratulate both Dan Wheldon and Honda on the victory today."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ FAST FACTS: This was his first IndyCar Series race of the 2005 season and 16th IndyCar Series start-- made his IndyCar Series debut in 2004 winning three of the last six races (Kentucky, Chicagoland and Fontana) to finish fifth in the championship-- last win was at California Speedway on October 3, 2004-- last IndyCar Series race was Texas on October 17, 2004-- last race contested was the Busch Series race in Mexico City on March 6 where he finished 10th in his series' debut-- open-wheel career record includes 193 starts, 11 wins and 25 podiums-- 42 years old from Mexico City, Mexico-- currently resides with his wife, Catalina, in Paradise Valley, Arizona.
John Ward, Race Engineer:
"We had a pretty tough, character building day. We started off a little bit loose but we fixed it. The car was good a couple of stints but unfortunately we lost the rear airjack and our pit stops were slow. The car seemed to get a whole lot worse the next stint. Adrian did a good job and the team did a good job. It just wasn't our day."