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Sep 12, 2012 - 04:21 PM
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2012 Fontana: Panther DRR IndyCar Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Sep 12, 2012 - 04:11 PM
IndyCar Weekend Team Reports
2012 Fontana: Panther DRR IndyCar Race Preview

Fast Facts:

• This weekend will mark Servia's sixth start at Auto Club Speedway (two of the six starts were in the Indy Lights championship where he finished 25th in 1998 and 14th in 1999, clinching the Indy Lights championship). Oriol competed at the track from 2000-2002. Hisbest finish was fifth in the 2002 CART race and his best start of 16th in 2000.


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• For the last three years Servia has called Santa Monica, California home. He moved out west with his girlfriend Jackie at the end of 2008 and the couple still lives in California, which will make this weekend a "homecoming" for the Spaniard.
• Servia currently sits 12th in the championship with 275 points and is 30 points from 10th place.
• In nine races, Servia has gained a total of 107 positions (7 positions in St. Pete to finish 16th, 13 positions in Barber to finish 13th, 7 positions in Long Beach to finish 16th, 12 positions in Brazil to finish 11th, 23 positions in Indianapolis to finish 4th, 11 positions in Detroit to finish 5th, 16 positions in Milwaukee to finish 4th, 9 positions in Toronto to finish 5th , and 9 positions in Baltimore to finish 7th).
• Since making the switch to Chevy power, Panther DRR and Oriol Servia have earned five top-ten results (four of them being top-five results) in ten races, tying with a season best of fourth place at the Indianapolis 500 and in Detroit.
• Motegi Racing will be the primary livery on the No. 22 machine this weekend. Through technical partnerships with leading professional racing teams, Motegi Racing Competition and High Performance Tuning wheels are designed and engineered for performance. Motegi Racing is owned by Wheel Pros, one of the largest suppliers of branded custom wheels, performance tires and related accessories for cars, SUVs and light trucks.
• For the Grand Prix of Baltimore, Servia qualified 18th, but started the race 16th due to two cars in front him receiving a 10 grid spot penalty due to unapproved engine changes. The Spaniard got a good start and maintained his 16th position. Things got interesting as the yellows started to come out with the first yellow coming out on Lap 8. The restart came out on Lap 13, and Oriol started P15. He felt that he made contact with Charlie Kimball, but the team looked at the front wing and he was okay and continued on. He gained one more position to P14 as a result. Servia came in on Lap 18 for his first stop to receive a full fill of fuel and to switch from the Firestone Firehawk Primary (black-sidewall) tires to the Firestone Firehawk "wet" tires due to the rain causing parts of the track to be slick. The team also had to replace his front wing because Oriol made contact with Marco Andretti in Turn 1 on the Lap 17 restart. As the track started to dry, Oriol had to come in on Lap 25 for a full fill of fuel and to switch from the "wet" tires to the Firestone Firehawk Alternate (red-sidewall tires). He came in P12, but filtered back to P22. After continuous yellows throughout the race, Servia would bounce back and forth on the grid. He came in for his final stop on Lap 56 for a full fill of fuel and to switch from the Firestone Firehawk Alternate (red-sidewall) tires to the "sticker" set of "red" tires. When he came in he was P2 and after the stop he filtered back out to P7. On the Lap 73 restart Oriol made some great passes with two laps to go and went from P10 to P7. Servia brought the car home in 7th place.
• Last year, Oriol finished fourth in IZOD IndyCar Series standings....Recorded 11 top-10 finishes, with a best of second at New Hampshire and Baltimore....Among three drivers to be running at the finish in all 17 races..... Led all drivers in laps completed (2,103 of 2,011)....Oriol was the only driver to finish in the top 10 in first five races of the season.

Panther DRR

• This will mark the team's fifth time to compete at the two-mile oval. In 2002, Memo Gidley started 27th and finished 21st. In 2003, Robbie Buhl started the race 6th and finished 10th and Sarah Fisher started 15th and finished 18th. In 2004, Felipe Giaffone started the race 19th and finished 8th. In 2005, Roger Yasukawa started the race 20th and finished 16th.
• It was announced in May that the Indianapolis-based squad has united with two-time IndyCar Series champion Panther Racing to form a strategic alliance on Oriol Servia's entry for the remainder of the 2012 season. The No. 22 Panther/DRR team will utilize Panther's second Chevrolet engine lease and work in conjunction with the No. 4 National Guard team and driver JR Hildebrand.

Oriol Servia, No. 22 Panther DRR, on the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway:"First of all, I'm excited to go back to Fontana. I think that it has provided some of the best oval racing. I actually have good memories of Fontana because it's the track where I became the Indy Lights champion in 1999. It's the type of race, with it being 500 miles, that suits me best. It's a long race and you have to be patient and you have to work on the car towards the end of it. I'm sure the race will be a great season ending. I'm excited to go back there and I'm also excited that we will have a chance to test the week of the race. We will be able to refresh our oval skills because we haven't been on an oval in awhile, especially a fast one like that, and I think that we will be very well prepared. I'm looking forward to have a strong end of the season and to get that podium or win that we've been chasing."

Back on Track: Panther DRR will test in Fontana on Wednesday, September 12 and will hit the track for official practice on Friday. The race will be at 8:30 pm ET on Saturday, September 15th. Live coverage will be on the NBC Sports Network and the IMS Radio Network.

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