After becoming the first driver to win 4 races in his rookie Indy Lights season, he moved up to CART IndyCar World Series for 1993. He took his first victory in the championship in 1996 at Toronto, in a race that claimed Jeff Krosnoff's life. Despite the one win, he was not a regular front-runner until he joined Patrick Racing in 1998. That year, he crashed at Michigan and three spectators were killed by the errant wheel from his car. On a positive note, he took two victories and 4th overall that year. In 1999 he won two races, but an accident at Detroit provoked a fracture in one of his hands, forcing him to sit out for several races. Despite of that, he managed to finish 6th in the standings. In 2000 he came close to winning the championship, despite not starting on the front row all season - he scored points in 17 of the 20 races including 2 wins and 3 further podium results. He finished second to Gil de Ferran in the championship.
In 2001 he founded Fernandez Racing, with former Ganassi manager Tom Anderson as his partner, and ex-F1 driver Shinji Nakano as his team-mate. He finished 3rd twice and took 2 poles that year, but his team's first victory came at Portland in 2003, the first win for an owner-driver since Bobby Rahal achieved the feat in 1992. That year he also ran an IRL entry for Asian-American Roger Yasukawa, in partnership with Aguri Suzuki, and for 2004 he moved the whole team to the series. Despite taking 3 wins and 4th overall in the 2004 IRL, he was unable to secure funding to race in 2005 - Delphi was driver Scott Sharp's personal sponsor while engine suppliers Honda insisted on Japanese driver Kosuke Matsuura in the second car.
In 2005 he drove the 5 Lowe's / Hitachi Chevrolet in Mexico for Rick Hendrick in the first NASCAR Busch Series race held outside the United States. In this race, (called the Telcel-Motorola 200) Fernandez raced in a one time ride to help promote NASCAR racing to the local fans. He led several laps in the race before giving up the lead to eventual race winner Martin Truex Jr.. It was announced that he would run 4 more races in the Busch Series for Hendrick Motorsports, but he did not run up front at any of those races. In 2006 he competed in 2 Busch races for Hendrick and competed full time in the Grand-Am series for his own team with Lowe's sponsorship. In 2007, he will move the team to the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class as an Acura factory team. His teammate will be fellow Mexican and Grand-Am veteran Luis Diaz.
Fernández has competed in the Indianapolis 500 a total of 4 times, in 1994-1995 and 2004-2005.
Adrian Fernández utilizes a Learjet 31 for business and personal travel.