IRL: Pikes Peak: Panoz G Force race report

Fernandez Second for Panoz G Force in Wild Rocky Mountain Fight FOUNTAIN, CO, 22 August 2004 - Adrian Fernandez took second place in today's Honda Indy 225, just one week after winning his first Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race.

Fernandez Second for Panoz G Force in Wild Rocky Mountain Fight

FOUNTAIN, CO, 22 August 2004 - Adrian Fernandez took second place in today's Honda Indy 225, just one week after winning his first Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race. Driving the #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone Indy car, Fernandez ran at the top of the 22-car field much of the day but didn't have anything to challenge victor Dario Franchitti. Still he proclaimed it "a fantastic day, especially following last week's result. This was one of the most challenging races of the year, at least for me. The track was changing constantly and you needed to adjust to those things and be patient."

When he decided to get aggressive, Fernandez learned his lessons: "I was trying to get by on the outside, went into the marbles and had to get out of the power," losing several positions. "My car was good, responding to what I asked of it and I was getting one guy at a time. I think if I could have gotten in front of Dario we could have won the race, but that was the trick. Nevertheless, this was a fantastic result for us and we carry some good momentum."

Darren Manning earned fourth place today in his #10 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota and pronounced himself "very pleased because we worked so very hard to get it." After losing a lap with a refueling problem on his first pit stop, the Target team took a gamble on fuel strategy "and it paid off for us. We got a yellow just at the right time and got our lap back. I was able to ride the momentum right to the end. The team gave me a good car and I was able to adjust it throughout each stint. That was really important as we stayed strong for the whole run and not just on fresh tires."

Vitor Meira finished seventh with the #17 Team Centrix Panoz G Force/Honda yet had difficulty working his way through traffic in this very fast contest. "When I was by myself the car was good but I think everyone had some type of situation with a loose condition. If you were in a pack, the air would affect the car. The guy with the least loose car was the best," but he was happy to finish seventh. Teammate Buddy Rice was the first retirement on lap 1 when his #15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda snapped in traffic and he hit the wall; Rice retains second place in the points chase behind Tony Kanaan, 463-395.

The final short oval contest of the 16-event season comes next week in the Indy Racing League's 100th race. The Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway is also the last race for the mile oval that acts more like a road course; the track closes after the IndyCar Series event.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Tony Kanaan , Vitor Meira