SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE FINISHED FOURTH IN THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH; TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA FINISHED SIXTH AFTER AVOIDING CONTACT ON TRACK
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I am very, very happy with how competitive the Telemundo team is. We had a strong performance the whole weekend and the team keeps moving forward. But I do have a bit of a bad taste in my mouth because this was probably the best race car I have ever had in a race and a podium was within reach. I felt in control the whole race; I felt that my car was better than anybody around me. I felt I was better than the Ganassi's, the Penske's and we were just running our strategy. When the yellow came, it hurt us because we were just coming in that lap so that didn't go our way but we were still strong and we still thought a podium was definitely in our future and then on the restart Helio was a little too optimistic and got into Power and just didn't leave me anywhere to go because I was on the outside. I had to do a little bit of a circus maneuver to get back on track and that obviously cost us the podium there but we finished sixth and it could have been a lot worse.
I'm happy with how we're doing. We're consistent, we're always there and the wins will come. We are working hard and its paying off."
FAST FACTS: Was his TENTH race here and FIRST with NHR at this track. His previous best finishes here are second in 2007 with Forsythe and fifth in 2008 with KV Racing. In 9 events, he has two top-five, three top-10 (including sixth in his rookie debut here in 2000) and eight top-15 finishes...Servia tested with the team in Sebring for two days in December 2010. Prior to that his previous time behind the wheel of an Indy car was also with NHR at the 2009 race in Japan where he finished fourth. He also tested in the open test at Barber Motorsports Park in March where he was fifth fastest...Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 17 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of seven top-three, 12 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. In 2005, Servia replaced NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a season-ending injury at the Indy 500 on May 29, andthen went on to finish second to teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the point standings after 11 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi...Is ranked 4th in series points with a total of 80 after three events.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I love this place. I have always enjoyed coming here. Someone pointed out to me that my average finishing position coming into this race was 4.8 and I actually managed to better it if you can believe it -- and I can't.
I don't know if we expected a top-five finish going into the race after what happened on Friday with the fire but we will definitely take it. After all of the hard work that these guys put it, it's really what they deserve. The Sprott car was awesome, it was really consistent. I don't think we started where we should have; we missed the setup a bit in qualifying. There is no doubt we benefited a bit from some others misfortunes but that's the name of the game. We kept our nose clean and had a quick car at the end and I just can't thank the boys and Sprott enough. It was funny being really disappointed with an 11th place qualifying position yesterday which for a rookie I guess most people think is alright but, such is the level of this team. This finish speaks volumes for what this team can do and the car they are giving me."
FAST FACTS: Set the second fastest lap of the race to Dari Franchitti (Lap 82/85)...Won from pole here in last year's Firestone Indy Lights race for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Competed in Atlantic Series races here in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and in the Firestone Indy Lights Series here in 2009 and 2010. In 2009 he started second and finished third. In 2008 he started and finished 10th here and in 2007 he qualified 10th and finished seventh. Made his Atlantic series debut at the track in 2006 where his finished third for Forsythe Championship Racing. He has an average 4.8 finishing position here...Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) was the only track James has driven an Indy car on to date that he will race on this season. The team ran James in two, two-day tests at Sebring International Raceway prior to bringing him to BMP for the open test March 14-15. He set the fifth fastest time overall on Monday (3-14) and the seventh fastest (3-15) overall time over two days at the IICS open test at Barber as well as temporarily held the fastest time on Tuesday...Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after wins in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicagoland and poles in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Watkins Glen and Edmonton. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races....He tested with NHR for two days at Sebring in December and another two days in January before testing at Barber Motorsports Park March 14-15 where he set the seventh fastest time overall at the test...Moved up 10 places to a rank of 17th in series standings with 44 points after two (of three) events and is five points behind J.R. Hildebrand for the lead in the Sonoco Rookie of the Year standings.
NEXT UP: The series will load cars and equipment into cargo airplanes next Friday for the Itaipava S0x00e3o Paulo Indy 300 Nestl0x00e9 to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sunday, May 1. Live timing & scoring of every on-track session can be seen free of charge on www.indycar.com.