Champ Car Media Conference
Topics: Champ Car
MODERATOR: Thank you everyone for joining us for the conference in advance of this groundbreaking event, as the entire road course will be lighted. We will race at night and qualify at night. It will be the first undertaking of this kind in the United States where a road course will be fully lit. Qualifying can be seen on the Speed Channel and the race will be shown on CBC Sports. We are joined today by Adrian Fernandez, driver of the #51 Tecate/QuakerState/Telmex/Ford/Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Thank you for joining us.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Adrian is taking a break from testing in Ohio, and if you could tell us how things are going out there this week.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Things are going okay. They're not going as good as we wanted. This is what testing is all about. We're testing some things. It takes time to test over the weekend. We're trying to test some of those things here. Overall, it's going fine. We're changing an engine right now. We should be out in a couple hours.
Q. We talked to your team manager, and he had the engine revving up. It sounded like he was ready for you.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Exactly.
Q. We'll also be joined by Ryan Dalziel in 15 to 20 minutes. Adrian, you have been hunting for this first win for a long time. It's been three years since you put the team together, and you built it pretty much from scratch all on your own. How satisfying is it to get your first win?
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Very satisfying, especially with all the work that goes behind it, and there is a lot of frustration and hard work. It's just not easy to win as a driver. It's even more difficult to win as a team. To put those two together was an absolutely amazing feeling. It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. We need to keep working hard and try to accomplish better results and the same results we did in Portland a few more times.
Q. How did that help the mind-set of the team? You have the confidence of having won a race. Does it make a big difference?
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It does make a big difference, especially for the guys. At the end of the day, we need to produce another good car. The key here was for us to have good pit-stops, good car, fast car on the racetrack. That will really help us to fight for victory. At the end of the day, you just have to remind yourself that was just one win. The important thing is to try to get a good car that you can be competitive over the weekend, and if you are competitive, you know you have a shot at winning the race.
Q. You head to Cleveland this weekend. How is the track there?
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It's not the easiest track to set up a car. Especially the way it's design ed -- not the way it's designed, it's an airport, but the way it's designed to run. There is a lot of bumps. It's not an easy track. It's a fantastic feeling to race on this track, and at night, it's going to be even more amazing. I think that's going to create a good atmosphere with the public. It's going to be a lot fresher than it is in the day.
Q. With your experience in Milwaukee, do you think that's something that's going to get even bigger, the idea of night racing?
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: I think so. What the people are going to see is a lot more lighting shows at night. It's going to be more exciting than at day. There is a lot of sparks on the engines and braking. I think it's going to make a better show at night. It's also Saturday night. People can go late at night to sleep, and a lot of people go out, and I think this would be a little time to have a festivity at the racetracks. If this works, I think a lot of other tracks will try to do the same.
Q. Did you notice a difference physically in terms of what you remembered in Milwaukee with the heat in the daytime or being worn out in the daytime. Is this something to think about in the summer schedule?
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It's definitely better for the drivers because the temperature is more cooler. At the same time, I think it's a little bit cooler for the drivers and also for the cars. So, at the end of the day, it's less warmer at night, and it's better for the driver. At the end of the day, everybody is in good shape. I think we will be able to perform as good through the day or night. The important thing in, I think, the show is the winner.
Q. Adrian, as the season wears on, you see you and Paul going at it in Portland. Do you think maybe experience may be more and more a factor and you might see yourself in more duels?
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: I hope so. It would be nice to have better cars than them through the end of the season. Experience always is important, but you have races where you have better cars and you have races where you don't have better cars. Obviously, some of the rookie guys that are here, they are very, very experienced. Some have had some problems; some not. You have to take what you can take every weekend and try to mix in a good consistent level through the whole year. Results like we had in Germany really did not help us in our standing in the championship. We should be better than fifth. We have some problems with pit-stops and things like that. Portland, we put everything together and we had a good car, and we had a win.
Q. Adrian, I'm wondering, in budgeting, how merchandising kicks into that. When we saw you at Long Beach, every third person wore a Tecate pit crew jacket or shirt. How does that all factor in in terms of putting together a scheme for the year because your stuff is so popular?
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It's something we have been working hard through the years. I'm not a young guy. I have been here for a while, and when our sponsors, they've got the Quaker State helmets, and when they come to the races, they dress their guests and everything. It's nice to see all the people supporting us. It gives you an appreciation of what the fans mean to you.
MODERATOR: Adrian, thank you very much for joining us. Best of luck this weekend. We'll see you when you get up here.
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: We're now joined by Ryan Dalziel, driver of #28 Pro-Works/Discovery Lake/Daily Record car. Ryan thank you for joining us.
RYAN DALZIEL: Thank you.
Q. You had some success last year, Ryan, but obviously nothing like you have had this year. For you, what's been the turnaround?
RYAN DALZIEL: I think I got together with a good bunch of guys this, year and really the engineering staff there has got years of experience and we're getting it together, and the past couple of races have been absolutely superb.
Q. Tell me how you feel coming into Cleveland.
RYAN DALZIEL: It's an awesome track. I'm looking forward to coming back.
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Ryan. You came out of nowhere last year, and now you're standing on the top step of the podium. Some people aren't familiar with your background.
RYAN DALZIEL: I raced in Europe for four or five years. I made a decision to come across and try things stateside. It was a difficult year last year, being a rookie and being unknown. Fortunately I had a couple good results, and it secured a good position for this year. I'm just happy with the way the past couple of races have gone.
Q. I'm sitting up here watching the Toyota Atlantic transporter role in. We're getting everything ready for you. We'll take some questions from the media. Ryan, congratulations on your success. I just wondered if there is any sense of rivalries developing? Do you feel competitive tensions going on within the series right now.
RYAN DALZIEL: I think the first thing that everybody noticed this year was the two newcomer teams, and the reason I think everybody sensed this rivalry is we basically came in and we have been the contending teams. I think you have to look deeper into the teams and realize both of the teams, the engineering staff and mechanics behind the teams, they're previous champions, and there is aa lot of depth in these teams. We're enjoying the rivalry, and we're definitely taking the challenge to anybody out there.
Q. You talk about the engineering. Who are your engineering and how crucial is the engineering to your effort?
RYAN DALZIEL: We have two engineers on my car. So, between the two of them and also myself, all of us, we have done an excellent job this year. I think we'll continue to impress people.
MODERATOR: Ryan, I appreciate you joining us. We got you in and out quickly today. We're looking forward to seeing you up here at Cleveland this weekend. Thank you for joining us.
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