CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Patrick Racing/Servia preview

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia seeks second strong showing under the lights JACKSON, MI - - JULY 3, 2003 - - Round 9 - - 2003 CART World Series, presented by Bridgestone and powered by Ford - Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia seeks second strong showing under the lights

JACKSON, MI - - JULY 3, 2003 - - Round 9 - - 2003 CART World Series, presented by Bridgestone and powered by Ford - Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia will be seeking his second strong showing under the lights this weekend at the U. S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix in Cleveland, Ohio.

Servia, who scored a CART career high second place finish at CART's inaugural night race a month ago at the Milwaukee Mile 250 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been one of the hottest drivers in the series over the last five events. He has finished in the top-five in four of the last five races and in the top-six all five times.

Just eight races into the 2003 season the talented native of Spain is having a career year and has set a number of personal CART career records. He has earned the most top-five finishes in a single season, four, scored a career high five consecutive top-six showings, tied his career high of five straight top-10 placements and set a career mark for consecutive points paying performances at six. Servia has also qualified in the top-10 in all eight events this year. The eight consecutive top-10 starting positions are another CART career high. All of these streaks are still active. Servia has also been one of the most consistent drivers this year, a trait necessary to any driver who seeks to win a championship. He has placed in the points in seven of the eight events and is currently sixth in the championship standings with 58 points. Servia is just five points out of fifth place, 12 out of fourth and 41 out of first.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team has a lot of momentum right now and the team has worked very hard," Servia said. "Our results have been a team effort and I am proud to be a part of that. However, we are not satisfied. For the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team to challenge for the championship we need to get to the next level beginning in Cleveland," Servia noted.

The 28-year-old resident of Miami, Florida will be making his third Champ Car start in Cleveland. He qualified 11th and finished 23rd in 2000 and started 12th and placed 17th in 2001. Servia also made two starts competing in Indy Lights at Cleveland taking the pole once.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team is going to fly on the runway in Cleveland," Servia said only half in jest. The engineers should have a very competitive setup for this race, plus I have always liked racing on the Cleveland circuit. The track has quick corners, good braking areas and there are several places where you can overtake. That should make for a fun race for the drivers and a good show for the fans," he explained.

Commenting on racing at night on the expansive airport runway, Servia said, "I think it will be a big challenge for the people lighting the track because it is harder to light a road course than an oval. It is going to be a big project. But, I have no doubt it will be done well and that we will have a safe track to race. I don't see any problems and I am looking forward to the race."

Servia went on to say, "After the success CART had with their first night race at Milwaukee, Cleveland will be even better. Cleveland was already a successful race, so putting it at night under the lights should mean an even bigger crowd."

Servia, who is in his fourth CART season and competing for his fourth CART team, has blossomed as a driver since joining Visteon/Patrick Racing midway through the 2002 season. He came to the team already with a solid reputation as a consistent driver. However, since joining Visteon/Patrick Racing, Servia has shown that he can consistently challenge for top-five finishes and be among the leaders in the championship standings. In his 18 starts with the team, 10 in 2002 and eight this year, Servia has finished in the points 12 times with nine top-10 finishes including six top-five showings and one podium (Milwaukee). The 66% rate for finishing in the points and 50% in the top-10 are solid numbers by anyone's standards. It is the improvement in top-five showings that has raised Servia into the ranks of potential race winner and championship contender.

Patrick Racing will be making its 31st start at Cleveland. In 30 previous events the team has qualified in the top-10 a total of 15 times with one pole (Roberto Moreno in 2000). They have finished in the top-10 a total of 17 times including nine top five showings with two wins (Emerson Fittipaldi in 1987 and 1989).

The U. S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix will be televised tape delayed on CBS on Sunday, July 6 at 3:30 PM (ET). Speed Channel will air qualifying live on Friday, July 5, beginning at 8:00 PM (ET).

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Roberto Moreno , Oriol Servia , Emerson Fittipaldi