Fernandez Turns First IRL IndyCarÂ® Series Laps Adrian Fernandez turned his first laps aboard the ...
Fernandez Turns First IRL IndyCar® Series Laps
Adrian Fernandez turned his first laps aboard the #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone today in opening practice for the Indy 200 Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) this weekend. Fernandez, who was ninth quickest in the afternoon session, logged a total of 74 laps during his two hours of track time today.
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: "It was a good day. Obviously, we have a lot to catch up on. There are a lot of things to get used to -- the car, the engine power-- just so many things. I was trying to stay away from the other drivers and just focus on what we were doing. We were pretty lost this morning with the setup of the car. We came back a lot this afternoon. We caught up a second. We were more balanced towards the end. The temperatures are pretty high, but it is the same for everybody.
"We are just learning the car; John [Dick, race engineer -- Kosuke Matsuura] and all of us are learning the car and trying to understand what it is doing. We made some changes and found a second so hopefully tomorrow, in preparation for qualifying, we can get a better car in that respect. It is too much to expect to have everything perfect for this weekend. My aim for this weekend, as it was today, was just to learn. The guys really did a terrific job in preparing the car over these few days and we haven't had any mechanicals.
"The support of Honda and everyone in the series has really been good, and Brian [Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the IRL] gave me the two [practice] sessions this morning to catch up on some time. It was a nice feeling to be welcomed, and they received us with open arms. Everybody has been very good in trying to explain the rules and other things, and get me up to speed as quickly as possible in the transition from one series to another. In general, I am very happy. Obviously we would like to be faster, but we are going in the right direction."
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:
"Adrian proved himself to be the true professional we all knew him to be. We had a slow start this morning, which was just getting a feel for everything since he has never driven the car before. He moved up quite well in the second session and I am very pleased with that result. Also, working again with John Ward and Chris Finch [race engineers] is starting to show progress already. Coming in from the test results we had here, we didn't make enough compensation for the weather change from the last time we were here and the increased heat in Phoenix. We had to make some major chassis changes this afternoon to compensate for the track temperature but I think the guys are going in the right direction now, and we are looking forward to a good session tomorrow morning and qualifying tomorrow afternoon."
Gustavo del Campo, Team Manager:
"It was a very hectic week for the team; for sure, it was not easy to put everything together in a week. John Ward, Chris Finch and John Dick are a strong group. After only two practice sessions they are finding a direction to go and this benefits both Adrian and Kosuke. This is a completely different deal for us, and we are excited about that."