National Guard Panther Racing Team Looks for Sixth Career Win on 1.5-mile High-Banked Oval

FORT WORTH, Texas - (June 7, 2013) – National Guard Panther Racing driver Oriol Servia will make his first start in the team’s No. 4 Chevrolet from the 18th position in tomorrow night’s Firestone 550k from Texas Motor Speedway. Panther Racing has won a total of five races on the high-banked 1.5-mile oval, including its last IndyCar Series race victory with Tomas Scheckter here in 2005. The team also won here with Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002) and Scott Goodyear (1999, 2000) and has started from the pole position twice.

"Qualifying was fine for us, and I was easy flat,” Oriol explained. “When you have new tires, it masks everything and you can be flat no problem. But it’s when you’re running in traffic I think everybody needs a little more downforce. I think the race will be too spread out and we may not have much racing going on, so I hope they let us put in a little more downforce.”

Servia posted lap times of 24.3873 seconds and 24.4324 seconds, which combined for a two-lap average speed of 214.586 mph. Chevrolet power swept the front row of qualifications today with Team Penske’s Will Power capturing pole position with an average lap speed of 219.182 mph. Power will be joined on the front row by Andretti Autosport driver Marco Andretti, who is currently tied for the IndyCar Series points lead.

“I’m really happy to be back in the car with Panther and with Chevy,” Servia continued. “And this is my first time ever with the National Guard, which is so much more than a sponsor. So I’m very honored to be driving their car, so hopefully I can give them a race tomorrow that will make them proud too.”

Last year the team started in 24th position with former driver JR Hildebrand, but the American drove to the front of the field to capture a fifth-place finish.

Tomorrow’s 228-lap race will be Servia’s first start in the No. 4 car, and the Spaniard is also confirmed for the IndyCar Series event at Iowa Speedway in two weeks. The team has not announced its driver for next weekend’s race at the Milwaukee Mile.

Panther Racing’s Qualification History at Texas Motor Speedway:
2012: JR Hildebrand; started 23rd (finished 5th)
2011 (2): JR Hildebrand; started 21st (finished 18th)
2011 (1): JR Hildebrand started 11th (finished 23rd)
2010: Dan Wheldon; started 15th (finished 9th)
2009: Dan Wheldon; started 7th (finished 7th)
2008: Vitor Meira; started 9th (finished 7th)
2007: Vitor Meira; started 13th (finished 5th)
2007: Kosuke Matsuura; started 15th (finished 9th)
2006: Vitor Meira; started 13th (finished 6th)
2005: Tomas Scheckter; started 1st (finished 1st)
2005: Tomas Enge; started 2nd (finished 19th)
2004 (2): Tomas Scheckter; started 20th (finished 18th)
2004 (2): Townsend Bell; started 21st (finished 9th)
2004 (1): Tomas Scheckter; started 8th (finished 20th)
2004 (1): Mark Taylor; started 10th (finished 17th)
2003 (2): Sam Hornish Jr.; started 12th (finished 17th)
2003 (1): Sam Hornish Jr.; started 16th (finished 10th)
2002 (2): Sam Hornish, Jr.; started 3rd (finished 1st)
2002 (2): Dan Wheldon; started 28th (finished 15th)
2002 (1): Sam Hornish Jr.; started 8th (finished 18th)
2001 (2): Sam Hornish Jr.; started 1st (finished 1st)
2001 (1): Sam Hornish Jr.; started 4th (finished 3rd)
2000 (2): Scott Goodyear; started 2nd (finished 1st)
2000 (1): Scott Goodyear; started 3rd (finished 5th)
1999 (2): Scott Goodyear; started 3rd (finished 23rd)
1999 (1): Scott Goodyear; started 8th (finished 1st)
1998 (2): Scott Goodyear; started 7th (finished 22nd)
1998 (2): Dave Steele; started 11th (finished 24th)
1998 (1): Scott Goodyear; started seventh (finished 4th)

Race Broadcast Info:
The Firestone 550k will be broadcast live next Saturday on ABC at 8:30 pm (ET), with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar Mobile app from Verizon. -