Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies 18th for tomorrow's 500 Presented by Toyota. FONTANA, CALIFORNIA -- SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2002 -- Round ...
Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies 18th for tomorrow's 500 Presented by Toyota.
FONTANA, CALIFORNIA -- SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2002 -- Round #18 of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series - Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified 18th for tomorrow's 500 presented by Toyota at California Speedway in Fontana, California.
Servia, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, with Toyota power and Bridgestone tires, began the day 15th on the combined speed charts following Friday's two practice sessions with a fast time of 31.723 seconds (230.256 mph) on the two-mile superspeedway oval. In today's morning practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team continued to work on the balance of the car in an effort to find more speed. Servia's fastest lap in the morning session was 31.631 seconds (230.925 mph), placing him 18th on the morning speed charts. The time also placed him 18th on the combined practice report. Since qualifying on an oval is run one car at a time in reverse order of the combined times, Servia went out first in qualifying. During his run he turned a fast lap of 32.277 seconds (226.304 mph).
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team has worked very hard and the car felt fine, we just didn't have the speed today," Servia began. "It was obvious even in the morning practice that we were not where we wanted to be," he said. "It is always nice to start up front, but if you have to pick a race to start from the back of the field a 500-miler is the one to do it. The good news is that it is a 500-mile race so qualifying doesn't really mean that much. Also the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team has shown in the past that they have a good strategy for these races, plus the car felt very good in traffic yesterday," Servia noted. "I am sure that even though we are starting last, at some point during the race the Visteon/Patrick Racing car will be leading and that we can have a good result," he concluded.
Servia is competing in his 52nd career CART event, 12th of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season, ninth for Visteon/Patrick Racing and third at California Speedway. In his two previous races at Fontana Servia's best finish is 11th last year.
Servia has qualified in the top-ten in two of 12 attempts this year and two of nine since joining Visteon/Patrick Racing. His best starting position is ninth achieved at Australia and Elkhart Lake. Visteon/Patrick Racing has qualified in the top-ten seven times in 18 races this season.
Servia is attempting to finish the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season on a strong note. The 28-year-old native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain has a couple of factors in his favor in tomorrow's race. First is Patrick Racing's tremendous success at California Speedway and in 500-mile races in general. The team, which will be making its 11th start in Fontana, has finished in the points seven times, the top-ten five times, the top-five four times and won once, in 1999 with Adrian Fernandez in ten previous attempts. Second is the Patrick Racing's well known ability to devise a race strategy that allows their drivers to contend for the victory, particularly in 500-mile races.
Servia enters tomorrow's race having finished in the points in six of the 11 races he has contested this year and in the top-ten four times with a best showing of fourth at the Rockingham 500 in Corby, England. He is 19th in the point's standings with 30 points.