Oriol Servia, Panther DRR prove their mettle

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If Oriol Servia and the Panther Dreyer and Reinbold Racing team must end their season following the Indianapolis 500 later this month, their fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 should be enough proof that they intend to go down swinging.

Last week, the team confirmed reports that it would not return to the track this year after the ‘500’ if additional funding was not found. But despite the situation, they came through with an admirable effort in Brazil.

It was a great car today,” said Servia, who started from 13th position. “The last two races, I had a great car in qualifying. The way the wrecks in qualifying have gone, we have started at the back, but we have gone through the field twice today and finished fourth. I really thought we had a podium; really, we had a car to win.”

Servia proved quite game throughout the event and took his No. 22 Valspar Chevrolet as high as second before coming to pit road under green flag conditions on Lap 50. However, the caution came out one lap later for Tony Kanaan coming to a stop on the front stretch, and Servia was shuffled back to 11th as a result.

Undeterred, the Spaniard went to work and climbed back into the Top 5 following restarts at Laps 52 and 58. He would stay there, passing Josef Newgarden in the final corner of the race for his fourth-place finish (his best of the season).

Now the team must shift focus to what may be their last race of 2013 — a prospect that Servia fervently hopes they can keep from happening.

“It’s just — I don’t know what is going to happen in the future,” Servia said. “…We work so hard to have the car and the team we have. We are contenders. We just need to find a little more money to continue, but I’m very happy today.

“We are working well, we are doing our jobs right, and something is going to happen.”

Hinch boldly “goes” where many drivers have gone before

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One of the most common questions racing drivers face is “What happens if you have to use the bathroom when you’re driving?”

And the most common answer is “You just go.” While admittedly a little disgusting, it is nonetheless a problem that occasionally surfaces, and an innumerable amount of drivers have done so in their careers.

However, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe apparently had never found himself in such a predicament in his career. That is, until Sunday in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

While under the first red flag for rain, Hinchcliffe started to receive “nature’s call.” Unable to get out of the car to use a restroom – drivers had not been permitted to get out of their cars – Hinchcliffe was forced to wait and hold it.

But when the cars briefly took to the track again prior to a second red flag, it became too much to handle, and Hinch was forced to “relieve himself” while circulating under caution.

“I always maintained that I knew at some point in my career it would happen,” he quipped to NBCSN’s Kevin Lee.”

He added, “I was sitting there under that first red (flag), just begging to get three minutes. That’s all you need, (steering wheel off to wheel on). And when we got going again, my legs were shaking, I had to go so bad. I’m like ‘I can’t drive a race car like this.’ So under caution, it took me a full lap, it was one of the least comfortable experiences of my entire life, but I can officially say I’ve joined the likes of Will Power, Dario Franchitti, and other greats that have peed themselves in their suit.”

Social media reaction added to the moment’s hilarity, with SPM and teammate Robert Wickens weighing in.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal also chimed in, coming to Hinchcliffe’s defense.

Hinchcliffe, fully refreshed, will restart the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama in fifth when racing resumes on Monday.

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