BUSCH: Mexico City: Adrian Fernandez preview

Adrian Fernandez makes his return to the Busch Series this weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in his native Mexico City. This marks Fernandez's ninth Busch race and third in Mexico City. Fernandez has been a factor in the two...

Adrian Fernandez makes his return to the Busch Series this weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course in his native Mexico City. This marks Fernandez's ninth Busch race and third in Mexico City. Fernandez has been a factor in the two previous races in Mexico. Last year Fernandez qualified fourth but his car suffered damage in another driver's accident. He battled back to finish 12th. In 2005, Fernandez turned in the fastest practice times, led four laps and finished 10th. This weekend he will pilot the Chad Walter-led No. 5 Lowe's car for Hendrick Motorsports. This race marks Fernandez only planned Busch Series race in 2007. He will compete fulltime in the American Lemans Series.

DRIVER ADRIAN FERNANDEZ ON MEXICO: "It's a great opportunity for me to get back and race in front of our fans. I think we have a great opportunity. If you look at our races, the last two races with Hendrick and the Lowe's car, we were very competitive in both occasions. In both occasions we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But we always were competing for a win. I feel that this year will be the same. Hopefully with a little bit of luck, we should be able to win this race, which for me will be so special in front of our fans. It's always just a pleasure to race here with so many good drivers, all the NASCAR community, which I have enjoyed tremendously in the last few years. "

IS THIS RACE SPECIAL? "This race is special because it really gets a lot of the Mexican drivers together and is in an international event. Even though NASCAR is still very new to our fans, I think they've been embracing NASCAR pretty well. Obviously having the Mexican drivers there, you know, their participation has been high in the last few years. Obviously, there's a lot to learn in NASCAR. You can compare it to open-wheel racing, which they're more used to. There are a lot of drivers, a lot of teams, and the rules are different. I think, you know, they're getting more used to it. So every time we come here and beat the best of the best in NASCAR in front of your crowd, try to be competitive, be competitive in front of your people, I think it makes it very special. Every time I competed here, I remember 2001 when we brought the first race into Monterrey, the welcome that our fans got us when we got there was unbelievable, overwhelming. After so many years of racing outside Mexico, suddenly racing an international event in front of your crowd, seeing the support you have from them, it was a very special. It's been very special ever since for me to come here and race in front of them."

GROWTH IN MEXICO: "I see more fans looking into NASCAR, watching NASCAR. We also have a national championship that is with NASCAR cars. It's organized here, it's televised. You do have more following. People are starting to understand more. Like I said before, it's something that will take time, right? This is a country which has been basically dominated by open-wheel racing. In a way, fans, that's what they've been seeing, Champ Car for many years, following ourselves for many years, then bringing them here, Formula One came here a few years. Now they're starting to understand. When I was a kid, I used to watch NASCAR and stock cars on TV, but it was nothing that you will follow but probably the Daytona 500 and things like that. I think now that there is more Mexicans that have been on and off there racing. Now that we have the race here, I see that the fan base has grown and I believe if NASCAR keeps doing what they're doing, everybody here in Mexico does a good job, eventually you will have a good base fan. It's just continuity. It just takes time. Success will not come overnight."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "I know Juan because I raced against him, right, in CART for many years. We had great battles. In those years that he was in Champ Car, which I think was two or three years, I can't remember, but we have great battles. That was the best years that I have. One year he won the championship. The following year I almost won the championship myself, came second. He came sixth, I believe. Then, you know, he went to Formula One. We kept in touch. Then he invited me to a celebrity race, a charity race event in Cartagena in Colombia. I didn't want to go. I went there and met my wife. I married her. She's a Colombian girl. I met her through Juan Pablo. Thanks for him inviting me there. I wouldn't have met her. My wife is very good friends of Connie's, Juan Pablo's wife. When I went to Colombia, I didn't realize how famous I was myself in Colombia. I didn't understand. Basically it was the years we raced together. Everybody on TV, Jorge Koechlin made us very famous in Latin American with his extremely good style of narrating the races in Spanish, got us really famous there. I think I'm as well-known in Colombia as Juan Pablo is well-known in Mexico. I believe he will have a good welcome there. I think people are excited to see the Adrian Fernandez and Juan Pablo Montoya fight again. It will be exciting. I haven't been competing actually since the last race we did in Cartagena in go-karts that time. It will be exciting. It will be good to race with him here."

-credit: fr

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Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Hendrick Motorsports