IRL: Richmond: FR, Fernandez qualifying report

Fernandez Qualifies 16th in Richmond after Rain Delays Adrian Fernandez will make his first career start at Richmond International Raceway in 16th position after several rain delays limited practice activities for the SunTrust Indy Challenge.

Fernandez Qualifies 16th in Richmond after Rain Delays

Adrian Fernandez will make his first career start at Richmond International Raceway in 16th position after several rain delays limited practice activities for the SunTrust Indy Challenge. Tomorrow's 250-lap race on the fast .75-mile oval will mark his fifth IRL IndyCar® Series start.

Weather: First practice session [Group One -- Matsuura], intermittent light rain with temperatures in the upper 70's. Second practice group [Fernandez -- Group Two], only 15 minutes of practice due to rain. For the final practice session at 4:00 pm, temperatures in the mid-80s under partly cloudy skies. Temperatures at 77 F for qualifying.

Practice Recap: Fernandez was able to complete only 26 laps during the first practice due to a rain-shortened session; Fernandez [Group Two] returned to the track at 4:00 pm for an additional 15 minutes of track time; in anticipation of further rain delays, the entire field was given 10 minutes of practice at 4:15 pm with MBNA Pole Qualifying rescheduled for 6:10 pm. Fernandez completed a total of 74 laps in practice, with a best lap of 16.0881 167.826 mph.

Adrian Fernandez, #5 Quaker State/Telmex/Tecate Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:

"I thought my lap was a good lap. Obviously a small difference makes a big difference in terms of your position on the grid. Overall I felt confident with my lap. I pushed as hard as I could, and maybe a little less push in the car would have helped us to get a better position. I think tomorrow will be a long day for everybody with 250 laps around this place. It is going to be quite something both physically and mentally. I think we have a good race car and we will find out more tomorrow. I wish I could have had a few more laps in practice to learn a little bit more about the circuit and get more used to it, but overall I feel pretty confident."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his fifth IRL IndyCar Series career start-- posted his best IRL results-to-date in the last two events with a fifth-place run at Texas on June 12 and a seventh-place finish in the Indianapolis 500-- best IndyCar Series starting position was sixth at the Indianapolis 500-- currently sits 16th in the championship standings, only 28 points out of the top 10 despite missing the season-opening race in Florida-- enters his 12th season of major open-wheel competition-- is the only Mexican driver to compete on a full-time basis in the IndyCar Series-- has 68 career oval starts to his credit, posting 33 top-10 finishes and eight podiums-- four of his eight major open-wheel wins have been on ovals (Rio 2000, Fontana 1999, Japan 1998/1999)-- last victory was in June of 2003 at Portland -- his first as an owner/driver-- 41 years old from Mexico City-- currently resides in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

-fr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez