BUSCH: Phoenix II: Penultimate round preview

* Fernandez eager to race at second "home" track this season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 8, 2005) -- Adrian Fernandez (No. 5 Lowe's/Shop Vac Chevrolet) has an unusual opportunity in front of him this weekend. Arguably the most popular athlete in...

* Fernandez eager to race at second "home" track this season

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 8, 2005) -- Adrian Fernandez (No. 5 Lowe's/Shop Vac Chevrolet) has an unusual opportunity in front of him this weekend.

Arguably the most popular athlete in his native Mexico, Fernandez can lay claim to racing at two "home" tracks in NASCAR Busch Series races this year held in two different countries.

Fernandez finished 10th in the historic race in his hometown of Mexico City this past March, the series' first points event held outside the United States. Saturday, Fernandez is entered in the Arizona 200 presented by Walk the Line at Phoenix International Raceway. He and his wife, Catalina, make Phoenix their home in America.

The open-wheel star continues to make strides in his first NASCAR season. His top-10 finish came on the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course and since that event, the 42-year-old has competed in three other NASCAR Busch Series events. He was 28th at California this past September, finishing the race one lap down. But he had trouble in his last two outings at Charlotte and Texas, respectively, where accidents took him out of the running early.

Despite the difficult finishes, Fernandez remains positive about his NASCAR experience.

"It has been difficult but we knew it would be," he said. "The competition in NASCAR is amazing. Just a few 10ths of a second separates the guys at the front, from the guys at the back. NASCAR is a lot more modern and sophisticated than I thought. Driving these cars is so different from what I have been doing in racing over the last 23 years. It's a challenge.

"Phoenix is a very special place for me. The first time I came to America to race was in Indy Lights [in 1992]. I won the race. I had never been on an oval in my life. Phoenix is where I have lived for eight years. We love the city, we love the people there. It's been a great home.

"We tested there last week and really had a good test. I'm starting to feel a little bit more comfortable each week in this car. I want to have a good run there. When you are used to running at the front of the pack, it's hard to be at the back. But I am staying patient, trying to learn everything I can.

"This is going to take time, but I feel as confident about Phoenix this weekend as I have about any of the races so far."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Adrian Fernandez