As Justin Wilson is remembered, Oriol Servia hopes he did the car, family proud (VIDEO)

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SONOMA, Calif. – “Nobody said it was easy. / It’s such a shame for us to part.”

“Nobody said it was easy / No one ever said it would be this hard.”

The second part of that first lyric from Coldplay’s “The Scientist” might be an apt term for the communal loss shared by the IndyCar community following Justin Wilson’s passing.

The first part probably describes the effort done by the Andretti Autosport crew to even prepare the No. 25 Honda for this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway, and for the Wilson family in partnership with the team and Honda to make a decision to have Oriol Servia on board.

Sunday at Sonoma, race day, when Wilson was remembered pre-race before all 25 cars had their engines fired, was the final line in the lyric mentioned above.

Servia shared several interviews throughout the weekend with NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis (see qualifying interview here) and the interviews, and emotions, continued on Sunday morning.

See several Wilson-related videos below, including an interview with Wilson’s younger brother Stefan and a moment of silence pre-race (Robin Miller’s touching tribute is linked separately, here).

Once the tough portion of the day was over, focus turned to the race itself and how Servia would progress forward from 19th place on the grid.

Servia – who struggled through the early part of the weekend in his first IndyCar road race since the May 2014 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, then driving with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – got better and better as the weekend went on.

In the race itself, he got up as high as third and was well-positioned on a similar strategy as Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti and past Andretti driver Sebastian Saavedra, who did well on the day for Chip Ganassi Racing.

A late caution scuppered their strategy and resigned them to midpack, but all told Servia was pleased to come away with 12th – split directly between Andretti in 11th and Saavedra in 13th.

“It was actually great. I had a great time from the beginning,” Servia told Beekhuis post-race. “Friday I was struggling to even stay in the seat. Yesterday I made big improvements.

“Today every lap I got better, remember how to drive these machines. I was fighting with (Ryan) Briscoe (who ultimately finished fifth, one spot ahead of Montoya). I thought we had a better car than him. The last yellow didn’t work for me and everyone on my strategy and we got sent to the back. I thought we would have been top five. I hope Justin was proud of what we did.

“The most important thing, I had fun. He wanted me to have fun.”

Asked whether he felt he made a difference in helping the family, the team and the community moved forward, Servia said this weekend was a necessary first step.

“For sure, the adrenaline of the race kept me strong. There’s nothing that is gonna help us not fill the void of Justin not being here.

“But as I said at the bginning, we remember him, and inspire us to be a little better humans, like he was.”

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change