Servia overcomes two weekend penalties for 6th in Long Beach

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Oriol Servia had one of the odder IZOD IndyCar Series weekends in recent memory, with two penalties issued and later rescinded, ending his Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a sixth place finish.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Indeed, the penalty was rescinded, and although the Catalan had been set to start last in the 27-car field, he rolled off 18th.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.”

IndyCar’s Vasser-Sullivan expand into IMSA for 2019

James Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. Photo IndyCar
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Not even one year after returning to the IndyCar ranks, Vasser-Sullivan Racing is taking AIM at the IMSA world, you might say.

While team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan will continue to partner with Dale Coyne Racing on the IndyCar side, they expanded their holdings Tuesday, announcing a partnership with AIM Autosport to campaign a new two-car Lexus-backed RC F GT3 effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

The new team – named AIM Vasser-Sullivan – will replace 3GT Racing, which was part of Lexus’ sports car program launch in 2016. It will announce its two drivers in the coming weeks, the team said.

“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” Vasser said in a media release. “I have driven sports cars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008.

“The AIM Vasser Sullivan team, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”

Lexus has made significant progress in its first two seasons in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, having earned a combined two race wins, five poles and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.

Vasser and Sullivan were part of the ownership group of KVSH Racing in IndyCar from 2011 through 2016 before the organization folded.

They also owned Tony Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500-winning car.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Vasser, a former CART champion, and Sullivan rejoined forces this past February, just before the start of the 2018 IndyCar season, partnering with Coyne to form a satellite team led by driver Sebastien Bourdais, who previously drove for KVSH.

Bourdais kicked off the new team’s effort with a win in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He finished seventh in the overall season standings.

AIM Vasser Sullivan will have two home bases for its IMSA program: AIM’s current facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, as well as a new U.S. shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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