Servia finishes 11th for Panther DRR’s likely last start of 2013

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Tony Kanaan was as popular a winner as you’ll see at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But few would have begrudged his longtime competitor Oriol Servia a chance to drink the milk in what was likely his and the Panther DRR’s team last start of the 2013 season.

Servia did his typical “hang around the fringes of the top 10 without ever being noticed on camera” act in the No. 22 Mecum Auctions Chevrolet. Come half distance, he’d snuck into the top 10, got as high as seventh, and was doing well to position himself for another top-five result.

On lap 90, a large change in downforce allowed Servia to charge, and he moved forward up to fifth by lap 153. He fell to 13th in the final pit stop sequence and ended 11th, not the result he or the team had hoped for.

“The moment we started taking the downforce off the car it was really fast,” Servia said. “Honestly, I could pass some cars, but it was not enough to go to the front. I thought we were going to have a shot at the end!”

He was happy for Kanaan, though. Servia’s stop-start career that has had more unanticipated dead ends than a mouse seeking a wheel of cheese in a maze, has included three different stints with KV Racing Technology through its various guises (2006-’08).

“I’m happy for Tony (Kanaan) and KV Racing,” Servia said. “I drove for KV three different times and I’ve been a great friend of Tony’s for 10 years. He’s been so close to winning it. I’m not only happy for him, but it also proves that when you try hard enough the door opens. It gives me hope to keep trying!”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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