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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Issue Nine
October 29, 2003
Fernandez Racing
Fernandez Interview
Hot Lap: Strong Strut
CPO Nightmares
Lotus Elise Preview
Coming Next Issue
Bimmer Roundup Coverage
Hot Lap: The Wheel Exchange
Review PowerBook G4 17 inch
Want Clean Glass?

A Weekend Behind Pit Wall:
Team Fernandez & Laguna Seca, continued.
Scheduling aside, the team was preparing the car for the final practice session before the race. Once again, we stood inches from the car and watched as Adrian returned the car to the pits for a differential adjustment, a rear shock change and some modifications to the rear brake ducting. It's quite amazing that CART (and the teams) allow photographers and journalists to stand an inch from a car as it races into its pit stall. The general sense seems to be, "Don't get run over, don't get in our way and everything will be fine."

While Team Fernandez sorted the minor problems, Michel Jourdain Jr's problems continued - his team was pitted directly in front of the Fernandez pit stall, and his gearbox was continually malfunctioning. "I hope they can get it figured out," said a Fernandez crewmember. Not only are these guys incredibly smart and talented, they're also genuinely nice people. Adrian finished the final practice and then disappeared to the hauler to prepare for the race.

Meanwhile, the team returned to the garage for last minute adjustments (they set the fuel cell capacity and made a few minor changes) and to suit-up for the race. The Fernandez crewmembers wear flame retardant one-piece suits and helmets to help protect them should the unthinkable happen.

When the team returned to pit lane, their demeanor was different - they were ready to work and were serious about their efforts. The joking and kidding subsided and everyone was wearing their game face. By 11:30am, the car was parked on the starting grid, the team was suited and ready to go, and the SpeedTV crew was walking up and down pit-lane, looking for a story.

The final hour before the race seemed to last for an eternity - the time crawled by. We sat on pit wall and watched as the drivers took their parade lap while standing on the back of a pick-up truck. Many of the drivers had their fathers with them as the race was held on Fathers Day.

We finally had to clear pit lane and return to the team's pit box, where we were given racing headsets so that we could listen to the crew's conversations. Everyone was in place - the engineers were "in" their pit cart, laptops buzzing, and the rest of the crew was at their respective station. Tire changers lined the wall, the fuel man checked his equipment and we tried to stay out of everyone's way.

The green flag dropped, followed immediately by a yellow flag - there had been contact between two cars on the start. The green flag would fly on the next lap, and the race was underway.

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