Servia “very grateful” for Penske opportunity to fill in for Power

Photo: IndyCar
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – In the annals of Oriol Servia’s career, this one was an oddity.

Servia – who has unofficially now raced for his 13th different team in his 198-start IndyCar career with his first start for Team Penske on Sunday – went from trying to figure out an Indianapolis 500 deal to then making sure all his equipment was here, getting his seat placed in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and fitting into a Verizon firesuit.

And then doing the warmup session maybe an hour after the end of the morning driver’s meeting.

But while Servia had made miracles happen before in a similar type situation – he filled in for Paul Tracy at Long Beach in the 2007 Champ Car World Series race, qualifying 14th and then driving to second – no such encore occurred Sunday in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Servia started 22nd and last in taking over for Will Power, who was diagnosed with a mild concussion. It meant the polesitting car moved back to the rear of the field.

He’d already gained four spots by Lap 1 (up to 18th), and ran as high as 11th on Lap 56 before he was caught up in the Turn 8 “parking lot.”

He ended 18th, then, a lap down by the end of the day.

But all told, it wasn’t the result but the opportunity for Servia to embrace.

“It was crazy from the beginning to the middle to the end! I was pleased I had the pace in the warmup, although the last few tenths is what we just didn’t have time to find,” Servia said, via Chevrolet’s post-race quotes.

“In the race, I’d say I was the limit, my arms, not the car. I can tell you, I was very pleased to see that first yellow.

“But I’m very grateful to the team, it was a fantastic car, a fantastic opportunity, but I wish it didn’t happen because of Will. He is a good friend.”

Servia now lives in Los Angeles, but was in St. Petersburg instead of the FIA Formula E Championship race in Mexico City, which took place on Saturday. Servia serves as the managing director for Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing team and incidentally, Dragon Racing won on a disqualification with Jerome d’Ambrosio inheriting the win after Lucas di Grassi was bounced.

It’s the second straight race for Servia – spread over eight months with two different teams – in IndyCar. He got the emotional call-up to fill Justin Wilson’s seat in the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda at the Sonoma finale last year.

Ideally, his next IndyCar start – and two more would take him to 200 in his career dating to 2000 – comes under more normal circumstances.

Here’s more on Servia’s day from USA Today Sports’ Brant James – Brant and I wound up playing the new “find the Servia” game – this morning.

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.