ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Report by Race Chaser Online Northeast Correspondent Kyle Magda — John Cote/IndyCar photo —
Oriol Servia stepped into the role of ‘Super Sub’ on Sunday, driving the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dalarra/Chevrolet for an ill Will Power at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Team Penske tapped the Verizon IndyCar Series veteran to drive the car in the race, one day after Power fought concussion-like symptoms and extreme nausea to score the pole for the 110-lap affair. Power being unable to race allowed teammate Simon Pagenaud to inherit the pole and put Servia in the rear due to the driver change.
The 2005 Montreal Champ Car winner picked his way through traffic and made it up as far as 11th after a good pit stop from the No. 12 crew, gaining him three spots during a caution around half-way. However, contact sparked when Carlos Munoz and Graham Rahal came together just inside the top-10 ended with an eight-car wreck on lap 57, leaving Servia with nowhere to go as he piled into the chaos.
“It was not quite the finish we were hoping for but it was still good to get a chance to race the No. 12 Verizon Chevy for Team Penske,” Servia said. “I really enjoyed working with the team and the car was definitely fast. I thought we made some really good progress after starting from the back but then we got caught up in the accident with several other cars and it was tough to come back from that.”
Servia came into the pits to repair crash damage and lost a lap in the process, bringing home the Verizon Chevrolet in 18th place.
“I want to thank Team Penske and Verizon for the opportunity and I hope my friend Will (Power) feels better soon and can get back to the team.”
The Spanish-born driver raced in last year’s season finale at Sonoma in the late Justin Wilson’s No. 25 Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda, one week after Wilson suffered injuries at Pocono Raceway that led to his untimely passing. Servia has portrayed the role of super-sub lately, driving in the last two IndyCar Series races for different teams in good equipment.
He also drove for Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing in last year’s Indianapolis 500 in a race that came down to Penske teammates Juan Pablo Montoya, who also won Sunday’s St. Petersburg event, and Power.
Servia could appear in more races this season; however, that will depend on team availability and circumstances above all.
Power will be further evaluated on Monday and IndyCar medical staff will determine if he will be cleared to return to the cockpit for the next race on the IndyCar schedule, the Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway on April 2.
About the Writer
Kyle Magda is a Northeast Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and a co-host of both Motorsports Madness and the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show, airing at 7 p.m. ET on Monday and Thursday nights, respectively, on the Performance Motorsports Network. Magda broke into racing in mid-2001 as the sport’s tide was beginning to change towards the current modern-era formula, but still has an affinity for the history of NASCAR’s earlier days.
The 22-year-old is a graduate of Penn State University and can be found traveling to numerous tracks across the country, covering everything from NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series to the UNOH All-Stars Circuit of Champions and the Super Cup Stock Car Series.
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