ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – official team release — Joe Skibinski/IndyCar photo —
Team Penske announced on Sunday that Will Power will sit out the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg due to persistent nausea.
Oriol Servia will drive the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet in the race on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg.
Power fought through three rounds of qualifying and won his sixth career pole position at St. Pete on Saturday to lead a Team Penske 1-2-3-4 qualifying result. He has continued to battle an illness and will not compete in Sunday’s 110-lap race.
Servia, the 41-year-old veteran of 197 IndyCar races, drove the No. 12 Verizon Chevy in the morning warm-up on Sunday and finished ninth in the final practice session before today’s race. Per INDYCAR rules, Servia will start today’s race from the back of the field.
“Obviously this is a very difficult decision to make in the first race of the season, but Will’s health and safety is the most important thing to consider,” said Penske Racing President Tim Cindric. “We hope Will makes a speedy recovery and with Oriol’s professionalism and experience, we know he’ll do a solid job for our team.”
Servia most recently raced in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he earned a 12th-place finish.
“I feel terrible for Will and just hope he feels better soon as he was my teammate a few years ago and he’s a good friend,” said Servia. “It’s not the way you want to get the opportunity to drive for Team Penske, but it will be an honor to race for the team and drive the fastest car on the grid today.”
CREDIT: Team Penske