KV RACING TECHNOLOGY'S WILL POWER EARNS OVAL CAREER HIGH FIFTH PLACE FINISH IN PEAK ANTIFREEZE AND MOTOR OIL INDY 300
ORIOL SERVIA IS VICTIM OF BAD LUCK, FINISHES 17TH
JOLIET, IL - - SEPTEMBER 7, 2008 - - Round #17 2008 IndyCar Series season - - KV Racing Technology's Will Power finished a oval career high fifth today in the Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Teammate Oriol Servia was the victim of a series of incidents that can only be described as bad luck and placed 17th.
Power, KV Racing Technology #8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone, an IndyCar rookie making his first appearance on the 1.5-mile, D-shaped, Chicagoland oval, drove the oval race of his career. Power, in a superbly engineered and prepared car, benefitted from outstanding pit work and a solid race strategy. Starting 10th, he steadily fell back at the start of the race settling into 20th place. When the first, of a record six, Chicagoland caution flags came out, Power pitted and got the first of five incredibly strong pit stops by his KVRT Aussie Vineyards crew. Rejoining the contest in 15th place, Power picked up four positions on the track and was in 11th when he pitted for the second time. Once again he crew did a great job sending Power back out in eighth place. Power fell back to 15th just prior to his third stop when his crew, again, worked their magic netting two more places. Power battled his way back into 10th place just prior to his fourth stop coming back out in 10th. During the second half of the fifth stint Power went back on the attack moving into ninth place before the sixth caution precipitated his final stop. Power's crew got him another spot during the stop, their 11 of the race, and now in eighth he showed he had learned his oval lessons this season by passing three more cars to score his first career oval top-five finish.
"I have never had so much fun in a race," Power said. "The Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia car was good and the crew did a great job in the pits. We picked up positions on almost every stop. We had good restarts. Everything was good. This has been a challenging season. The whole team has worked very hard and I am just so happy to be able to have a good finish, especially on a mile and half oval. It really shows the progress the whole KVRT team has made this year."
Power, in his fourth U.S. based open-wheel season, made his 47th career start and just his 11th on an oval today (10th this year). The 27-year-old Australian earned his sixth top-10 finish of the season (second on an oval), third top-five showing (won in Long Beach, fourth in Mid-Ohio) with one victory in the 17 events this year. He scored 30 points today to finish 12th in the 2008 championship standings with 331 points. Power also placed third in the Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year race 15 points behind Hideki Mutoh, who finished 10th in the standings.
Servia, CDW KV Racing Technology #5 Honda/Dallara/Firestone, in his first Indy Car season, also made his Chicagoland debut today. Starting 12th he was 17rh when he pitted for the first time, but had a problem when the car would not go into gear and came out 19th. He was in 15th when he pitted for the second time. This time a fuel probe malfunction forced him to re-pit dropping Servia to 24th. Servia was running 19th at the mid-point of the race when debris from another car knocked his left mirror off. The debris, including the mirror, forced a caution and. Servia pitted. He rejoined the race, but IndyCar officials, citing a rule that requires a car to have two mirrors, called him back in to replace the missing equipment. The procedure required removing the sidepod to bolt on a new fixture and took two stops. Now 20th, and two laps down, Servia spent the remainder of the race picking up spots as other competitors dropped out.
"This is one of those races that the stars were not aligned for us," Servia said. "The first stop, first gear wouldn't go in. The second stop the fuel didn't go in. But, at that point the CDW KV Racing Technology car felt good. We were still competitive and had a chance to move up to the front. Then a piece of debris from another car took out my left mirror. So the IndyCar officials made us stop to repair it and we lost some laps. It was KVRT has worked hard this year and it is nice to see, as Will (Power) showed, that we have a good car and can be competitive on any race track. So, at least as a team we ended up on a good note. Unfortunately, I lost a couple of positions in the points, but I am still pleased to have finished the season in the top-10 in the standings."
Servia earned 13 points today and finishes his inaugural IndyCar season ninth in the championship standings with 358, just 21 points out of sixth place. The 34-year-old Spaniard finished the highest in the championship standings of the drivers transitioning from Champ Cars to IndyCars this season. He is also the second highest ranked driver not a member of Andretti Green, Ganassi or Penske Racing. Servia scored seven top-10 finishes this year (five on road/street circuits) including five top-five showings (season high fourth at Detroit and fifth's at Long Beach, Richmond, Mid-Ohio and Edmonton) . This is the fifth time in six seasons that Servia has placed in the top-10 in the championship standings. His best season was 2005 when he finished second.
Power has now earned 25 top-10 finishes including 14 top-five showings with seven podium performances, three victories and six poles in 47 career starts. In 11 oval starts he has the two top-10 finishes (Chicago, fifth and Iowa, ninth) with the one top-five showing. Power, who made his oval debut in 2006 at Milwaukee, is the third highest ranked transition driver. His fifth place finish today ties the best oval showing by a transition driver (Servia, fifth at Richmond). Power had the best oval finish of the transition drivers twice in the 10 oval events this season (Chicago and Iowa), and the second highest three times (Indy, Texas and Nashville).
Servia, in his ninth U.S. based open-wheel season, made his 142nd career start and 37th on an oval today. He is not considered an IndyCar rookie because of his extensive oval experience. Servia has 77 top-10 finishes including 39 top-five showings with 16 podium performances, one victory (Montreal 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise 2005) in his career. His oval record includes 17 top-10 finishes with 10 top-five showings and three podiums (best finishes are seconds at Milwaukee in 2003 and Las Vegas in 2005). Servia is the best of the drivers transitioning from Champ Car to the IndyCar Series on ovals. He tied for the highest finish on an oval, fifth at Richmond, and has the best finish on five of the ten ovals contested this year (Homestead, Indy, Milwaukee, Richmond, Kentucky) and the second highest once (Kansas).