Oriol Servia had one of the odder IZOD IndyCar Series weekends in recent memory, with two penalties issued and later rescinded, ending his Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a sixth place finish.
The madness started on Saturday when Panther DRR’s Servia – attempting to avoid a spun Scott Dixon in Turn 1 – was docked his two fastest laps for causing an accident.
“There’s no common sense to the rule. We’ll have to talk to them after this,” Panther DRR co-team owner Robbie Buhl said to IMS radio after the incident. “What caused the red? Not Oriol Servia. Dixon spun and blocked the track. They have to deliver common sense. It’s insult on top of injury.”
Indeed, the penalty was rescinded, and although the Catalan had been set to start last in the 27-car field, he rolled off 18th.
A methodical charge through the field Sunday ended sixth, although not before contact with Tony Kanaan in the final stages of the race. With Kanaan in the Turn 1 tire barrier, Servia was again issued a penalty, this time 30 seconds added post-race for avoidable contact.
After further review, that penalty was dropped as well.
“With two laps to go, I had a run on Tony,” he said. “I was on the push to pass, I don’t think he saw me coming. I got on his inside and he closed the door. I was there – I cannot disappear! It was one of those deals where you both want the same space in the corner so you crash. I’m angry with him, he’s angry with me. That’s what happens in racing.”
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: