GREAT COMEBACK FOR PANTHER DRR AND ORIOL SERVIA IN 96th RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500, TEAM FINISHES 4TH
Today marked a career-best result in the Indianapolis 500 for Oriol Servia and Panther DRR. This weekend was the Spaniard's fourth start and he finished the day with his best result for this race. It was the same story for the team. Today's race was Panther DRR's 13th start and their best result for the Indianapolis 500 race as well.
In the last five races combined, Servia has gained a total of 61 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, and 22 positions in Indianapolis to finish 4th).
Servia qualified 27th for the race and had a roller coaster of a race that finished on an incredible high with a 4th place position, making him the second highest finisher for Chevy.
Oriol had a good start and bounced around in position. The yellow flag came out on Lap 14 and he came in for a full fill of fuel and tires on Lap 15 and filtered from 28th to 26th position.
The green flag waved on Lap 18, but on Lap 22 his Mecum Auctions machine got extremely loose due to his tire going down. As a result, he came in on Lap 23 and the team changed all four tires and topped him off on fuel. Unfortunately, Servia went down a lap and filtered back to P30.
The entire race Panther DRR and Servia worked to try to get his lap back, but the yellow flags did not fall the team's way until the last stint. He would come in on Laps 52 and 90 for a full fill of fuel and tires. On Lap 50, he came in for fuel only in an attempt to get his lap back, but unfortunately was unable to.
Servia came into the pits for a full fill of fuel and tires on Laps 125 and 147.
It wasn't until Lap 163 when things started to get interesting for Panher DRR. The caution came out on Lap 163 and Servia stayed out to get the wave around to get his lap back. On Lap 166, the Spaniard finally got his lap back and would pit for the final time on Lap 168, receiving a full fill of fuel and tires which put him as the last car on the lead lap in P18.
The re-start came out on Lap 171 and Servia made an amazing pass on the outside going from P18 to P13 in one lap. Another caution came out and with the re-start on Lap 186 he moved his way up to P8.
The yellow came back out on Lap 187 and when the green flag waved on Lap 193, Servia made another incredible move and went from P8 to P6. On Lap 195 he passed Ryan Briscoe to put him in 5th position.
On Lap 199 the yellow came out for Takuma Sato, who was running second at the time, and as a result, Servia moved up to 4th position, where he would take the checkered flag.
Teammate JR Hildebrand finishing 14th in the final standings in his No. 4 National Guard/Panther Racing entry.
Oriol Servia, No. 22 Panther DRR, on the 96th Running of the Indianapolis the 500: "I'm just so happy to bring the Mecum Auctions car home in 4th place. I also want to thank Panther DRR and Panther Racing. They made a huge effort in getting the two teams together and I hope bringing them a top-five satisfies the big effort it took to bring it together. It was the first race with Chevy power and we finished in the top-five. We finished fourth in the biggest race of the season and in what fashion. We had a flat tire in the first stint and we went a lap down. We couldn't get our lap back until the last stint so it was tough work. Once I had my lap back I was last, so I had to pass a lot of cars. We had been working in the car the entire race. Every stint we changed front and rear wings and tire pressures. I had the best car when it counted, which was in the last stint. It was awesome. I was able to pass a lot of cars and get some prize money. I told the guys before we started I wanted to get them some prize money today and we did."