IndyCar Driver Review: Oriol Servia

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

In P22, driver of Car 22 before that went away, and best of the part-timers, Oriol Servia…

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Oriol Servia

  • Teams: Panther DRR, Panther Racing
  • 2012: 13th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 8th
  • 2013: 22nd Place (12 Starts), Best Finish 4th, Best Start 7th, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 16 Laps Led, 13.9 Avg. Start, 12.5 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: Servia scored only three less points than Saavedra did, but in seven fewer starts, and that says it all really about who should have had a full season chance. Servia’s went away when the funding did at Panther DRR despite a strong five-race stretch to open the year; it’s easy to forget, but he was ninth in points leaving the Indianapolis 500. It made too much sense for him to move into Panther Racing proper after that, but logistics, contracts and questionable management decisions made that logic impossible. Still, Servia did what he could in the seven remaining races he drove for Panther. He remains IndyCar’s “ghost driver,” who stars for midfield teams before they run out of money, while only rarely being noticed by a TV camera.

Estrada says: One of the more reliable veterans in the IndyCar paddock, Servia is a driver whose skills demand a competitive full-time ride. Mechanical problems at St. Pete and early contact at Barber made for a slow start, but the Spaniard shook them off with a sixth at Long Beach and an impressive fourth at Sao Paulo. Unfortunately, his Panther DRR side could go no further following Indy and he moved over to Panther Racing for a part-time run of seven more races that, for various reasons, didn’t yield a lot of results. Nonetheless, he did a good job with the situations that he had to deal with in 2013.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.