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Servia Advances to Final Qualifying Heat Race, Will Start Tenth at Iowa Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Jun 23, 2013 - 05:47 AM
IndyCar News
Servia Advances to Final Qualifying Heat Race, Will Start Tenth at Iowa Speedway

National Guard Panther Racing driver Oriol Servia will start tomorrow’s Iowa Corn Indy 225 in the tenth position after advancing to the final qualification heat race of the evening. Servia automatically advanced to the third and final heat race of the evening after posting the sixth-fastest qualification speed during single-lap qualifications held earlier in the day.


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Servia posted aone-lap top speed of 183.021 mph, which secured the Spaniard the final of the six spots that were guaranteed a position in the final heat race. In the race itself, Servia was dealing with some understeer in the No. 4 Chevrolet but battled throughout the race with Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal.Ultimately the Panther driver concluded the race tenth overall, which secured his final starting position for tomorrow’s 250-lap event.

The starting position matches Servia’s best career qualification effort at Iowa Speedway, equaling his starting position in 2008 while driving for KV Racing Technology.

NEWTON, Iowa – Panther Racing will be honoring the Gary Sinise Foundation this weekend by placing the foundation’s logo on the rear wing of the team’s No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet that will be driven Oriol Servia in this weekend’s Iowa Corn Indy 225. Panther Racing’s “Operation: Hire Our Guard” and “Road Map to Help” programs help fight unemployment amongst our National Guard soldiers by combining many organizations across the country that provide support for service members. The team was introduced to the Gary Sinise during the offseason and hosted the Academy Award nominated actor during one of its employment events at Phoenix International Raceway.

“When we learnedeverything that Gary Sinise and his foundation do to support the military, we were blown away,” Panther Managing Partner John Barnes said. “It literally is amazing, and we couldn’t be happier to help promote and support a group that gives so much to our country and these soldiers. We hope everybody who watches the race on Sunday will take a minute to look into the Gary Sinise Foundation and what they’re all about, because they’re game-changers.”

As part of it’s “Operation: Hire Our Guard” program, Panther hosts employer outreach events in states that do not host IndyCar Series events, and Sinise was a special guest earlier this year at the team’s event in Arizona. In addition to speaking with the employers and military leaders in attendance that day, Sinise took an IndyCar Experience two-seater ride during his visit. But, most importantly,Sinise knows the importance of soldiers getting jobs upon their return fromdeployment.

“It’s critical,” Sinise said. “And it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s the smart thing to do. This is the best-trained and most highly skilled military that we’ve ever had in the history of our country. So you’ve got people coming out of the military and the National Guard who are highly qualified for all kinds of various jobs. So it’s a smart thing to do for an employer to reach out to the military community to hire a veteran. They learn so much in the military; discipline, various manufacturing skills, and so many other jobs within the military that they can take into civilian life and that’s a great resource right there for any employer to tap.”

His foundation’slogo will be displayed prominently on Panther’s rear-wing this weekend. The team intends to cycle through logos of several organizations and charities for the rest of the year that support the military and are part of Panther’s “Road Map to Help” initiative.

“The Gary SiniseFoundation is dedicated to serving and honoring the needs of our military men and women, first responders, Gold Star Families, wounded warriors, and all the folks who serve and protect our country,” Sinise continued. “We’re raising money to build homes for various severely wounded warriors, we’re supporting the tragic loss of our nation’s heroes through Gold Star initiatives, we’re supporting resiliency campaigns and all kinds of different things.”

But the big question was, did Sinise enjoy his ride in the back seat of an IndyCar?

“That was incredible,” Sinise said. “I’ve always wanted to do something like that before, but they surprised me with that today and put me in there. So I was thrilled to be able to go around that fast.”

The Gary Sinise Foundation serves the nation by honoring its defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. The Foundation does so by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire strengthen and build communities. These programs include ‘Building for America’s Bravest’, an effort to build smart homes across the country for veterans, performances across the country by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band, Relief & Resiliency Outreach and many other programs.

Panther Racing’s Iowa Speedway Qualification History:
2012: JR Hildebrand, Started 12th (finished 22nd)
2011: JR Hildebrand, Started 4th (finished 4th)
2010: Dan Wheldon, Started 10th (finished 11th)
2009: Dan Wheldon, Started 6th (finished 4th)
2008: Vitor Meira, Started 12th (finished 15th)
2007: Vitor Meira, Started 13th (finished 9th)
2007: Kosuke Matsuura, Started 16th (15th)

Panther Makes Engineering Change, Tino Belli Moves to Race Engineer
Earlier this week Panther Racing parted ways with longtime Chief Engineer David Cripps, who was the team’s race engineer from 2004-05 and again from 2008 through last weekend’s race at Milwaukee. Technical director Tino Belli, who joined the team during the offseason, will assume the role of race engineer on the team’s No. 4 National Guard entry, which will be driven this weekend by Oriol Servia.

Oriol Servia, No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet:
“Tenth is definitely good for us, and you’ve seen the way things can go here with people going back and forth, so it’s not a bad place to start. Today we really accomplished what we wanted in the NationalGuard Chevy with a little bit of a race sim to see where the car is going to go. I felt very good in qualifying and in practice, we were just a little bit off (in the heat race) but that’s what this is good for; it gives us a chance to get it better for tomorrow. Honestly, the car felt good it just had a little too much understeer, which is the better evil to have and to solve. So I feel pretty good about tomorrow.”

Race Broadcast Info:
The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will be broadcast live in ABC at 2:30 pm (ET), with additional coverageprovided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar Mobile app from Verizon.

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