Fernandez Qualifies 13th for IRL IndyCarÂ® Series Debut It has been a fast-paced learning curve for Adrian Fernaandez who, after three practice sessions in his new ...
Fernandez Qualifies 13th for IRL IndyCar® Series Debut
It has been a fast-paced learning curve for Adrian Fernaandez who, after three practice sessions in his new #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone, completed his first MBNA Pole Qualifying effort today. Fernandez posted a best lap of 21.2114 seconds (169.720 mph) and will start 13th as he prepares to make his IRL IndyCar Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway tomorrow.
The Indy 200 Copper World Classic will be broadcast live on ABC beginning at 4:00 pm ET on Sunday, and carried on the IMS Radio Network and indyracing.com. Fernandez has made three starts on the one-mile desert oval. In 1992, Fernandez won at Phoenix in his Indy Lights debut. He also contested two CART events at PIR in 1994 and 1995. His best finish was 10th in 1994.
Adrian Fernandez, #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"In general it was a good day, but we still have a lot of learning to do. We went four-tenths slower than our practice time this morning but the track was hotter. There are just so many things that we just don't know yet about the car. For our first race, 13th is better than being last. Tomorrow will be more difficult because we have to go through a lot of things we haven't done in a way, but we are looking good. Our goals are to finish the race and learn. This is a learning time for us. I am excited. The guys have done a really good job and Kosuke qualified 10th, which is good. It is going to take a few races but I know we will be there fighting for the front very soon."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his first IRL IndyCar Series start-- last competed on an oval in May of 2003, starting fifth and finishing sixth at Milwaukee-- holds four career oval wins (Rio - 2000, Japan - 1998/1999, Fontana - 1999) and two pole positions (Milwaukee - 2002, Michigan - 1998)-- has made 64 oval starts, posting 31 top-10 finishes and eight podiums-- 40 years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernandez Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson.
Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:
"I am very pleased for Adrian and the Fernandez Racing team in their first qualifying session. We had a little bit of a breakdown in communication on the traction switch with our Honda partners, but that is part of the learning curve here. I think there might have been a little bit more on the table that we could have used, and the team will take responsibility for making that communication better. In reality, the amount of time you are given on a weekend with the IRL schedule and as many supporting races as they have, you do not have a lot of time to have a race setup and a qualifying setup as such especially when you come in new. The fact that we were working with our race setup at the very beginning and not dialing something in for qualifying, the car looked really steady coming through. I think we are in pretty good shape and, starting 13th, I am very pleased for our first event."
Gustavo del Campo, Team Manager:
"This is our second day in our first race and we qualified 13th. I think we have a good car. Our goal for tomorrow is to finish the race and finish in the top 10, and we are close to being able to do this job. If anyone would have seen our scenario seven days or six days ago till now-- these guys are working really, really hard. With Kosuke and Adrian, the team will improve a lot; only right now we need more time."