SERVIA MATCHES BEST PANTHER FINISH WITH SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH IN GRAND PRIX OF HOUSTON RACE TWO
National Guard Panther Racing Team Climbs from 21st Starting Position to Top Ten Finish
HOUSTON, Tex. (October 6, 2013) – National Guard Panther Racing driver Oriol Servia matched his best finish of the season with a seventh-place result Sunday in Race Two of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston in the team’s No. 4 Chevrolet. It was the third consecutive start that Servia had started near the rear of the field and driven to the front of the grid, but the first one where the Spaniard was rewarded by reaching the the checkered flag. The seventh-place finish matched his result earlier this year at Iowa Speedway, his best in six starts with the team.
“Honestly three laps before the end I was disappointed that we weren’t a little higher on the grid, but then I realized how many races we’ve been running up front and something happens at the end,” Servia said. “So we got a seventh, which is very decent after starting 21st and it was a legit drive to the front for the National Guard team. The car was great on track and we had a very good pit stop at the end, which is just like the Panther guys to deliver when it counts."
After a strong run in Saturday’s Race One the team was excited for this morning’s qualification session, but an early rain storm in the area caused qualifications to get cancelled. As a result the field was set by entrant points, which placed Servia in the 21st position at the start. The poor start was little hindrance for Servia, who was up to 15th position within the first handful of laps to open the race. He quickly reached 13th before the team made its first pit stop of the day on Lap 28 and just five laps later reached the Top Ten.
Servia continued to battle around the tenth position as he prepared of his final pit stop of the day on Lap 64. His final pit stop was one of the National Guard crew’s best of the season and helped elevate Servia to eighth on the grid, as high as he’d been all day. He battled off a charging Charlie Kimball during several late-race restarts, but was able to hold off the American driver and pass Takuma Sato on the final lap of the race for the seventh-place result.
“It was a good day all around, just unfortunate that we didn’t have qualifying,” Servia continued. “Because with our speed I’m sure we would have started in the Top Ten, which would have helped and made things a lot easier. But we’ll take this and it’s a way to build – you need races like this to start finishing regularly in the Top Five, on the podium and to get wins.”
Team Penske driver Will Power drove his No. 12 Chevrolet to victory and was joined on the podium by Scott Dixon and fellow Team Chevy driver James Hinchcliffe.
Race Broadcast Info:
The IndyCar Series will have one weekend off before traveling to Fontana, California for the final race of the year. The MAV-TV American Real 500 will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on October 19th at 8:00 pm (EST) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar 13 Mobile app from Verizon.
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