Kentucky Indy 300 – Kentucky Speedway
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, September 2, 2011
SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE TOOK ROOKIE OF YEAR LEAD WITH FOURTH PLACE IN THE KENTUCKY INDY 300; TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA SECURED FOURTH IN SERIES STANDINGS WITH SIXTH PLACE
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The Telemundo car was actually great except it had a lot of understeer. We just missed our target on the front wing. The rest of the car was awesome we just had too much understeer. Unfortunately you can only put so much wing in on each pit stop without losing too much time. Every pit stop the car would get better because we put more wing in each time. But again we didn’t want to stay in the pits too long putting wing in and lose positions. At the end the car was at its best but I still think we were a couple of turns short on the front wing. Apart from that I am happy coming from ninth. We had some moments where we thought we would end better but it is what it is. It was an interesting race, tough to pass. It was a good result for the team.”
FAST FACTS: Was his second race here and first with NHR. Started and finished 12th here in 2008 with KV Racing. Earned three, top-five finishes in the last five races… Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 23 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of eight top-three finishes. In 2005, Servia replaced NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a season-ending injury at the Indy 500 on May 29, and then went on to finish second to teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the point standings after 11/13 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi… Is FOURTH in series point standings with 425. With his finish he secured fourth place in the 2011 standings as he is 62 points ahead of Tony Kanaan (5th; max of 53 points at Las Vegas).
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We were so close to that podium. Obviously starting third was great. We had a good car and a little bit more downforce than the fast guys so I couldn’t lead very well but I could push guys really well. At one point I was pushing Oriol back up to the pack. Near the end there I let Cunningham go by so I could push him up to the pack. Once we were in the pack I think the extra downforce was helping. We had some trouble in the pits today but some things were out of our control like when JR had a problem in front of us in his pit box. But the car was good and we were able to pick those places back off. It was a ton of fun; this is the kind of racing you wanted to see here on the 1.5 milers and it was a great show for the fans.
(On taking the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points lead:) “Certainly it’s nice to go into the last race of the year a little bit up (in points) but at the end of the day there is still a lot that can happen. As you can see JR was ahead of us on track at one point during the day and so many things can happen to throw you off. It just proves how tough these races are; its really about being there at the end. We’ll take it! Obviously I would rather be ahead than behind but there is still another 300 mile race to get through.” ·
FAST FACTS: James earned his best start of the season with third and the best for NHR here…This will be his first race in an Indy car here and third overall. He competed in two Firestone Indy Lights races. In 2009 he started fifth, led two times for a total of 20 laps but finished seventh after a late race spin. He started sixth and finished second in 2010. His highest oval start/finish of the season is fourth at New Hampshire …Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after three wins and four poles. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races…Is ranked 12th with a total of 302 points and took the Sunoco Rookie of the Year lead for the first time this season from JR Hildebrand (296) despite missing the season-opener (missed St. Pete).
NHR IN KENTUCKY: This was Newman/Haas Racing’s fourth race here and the team earned their best start (third) and finish (fourth) here this year by Hinchcliffe. In 2010 Hideki Mutoh qualified 5th and finished 17th for the team. In 2009, Graham Rahal started 10th based on entrant points due to “weepers” but hoped to qualify much higher based on winning pole at a similar track (Kansas; previous 1.5 mile track). He finished fifth in what he called “his best car on an oval ever” at the time. Robert Doornbos started 12th based on points and finished 19th after a pit problem. In 2008, the team’s first season in the series, Rahal started 20th and ran as high as 12th in the opening laps before gearbox failure ended his race after 28/200 laps and he retired in 25th. Justin Wilson started 19th and ran 16th before gearbox failure after 82/200 laps.
NEXT UP: The season finale IndyCar World Championships will take place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway 1.5-mile oval on October 13-16. Newman/Haas Racing competed in CART / Champ Car race on the streets of Las Vegas in 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) in 2004 & 2005 and on a temporary road course around Caesars Palace in 1983-1984. In five races in Las Vegas, the team has earned THREE WINS (Sebastien Bourdais 2004-2005, Mario Andretti 1983), ONE POLE (Bourdais 2005) and SIX PODIUM finishes (2nd – Oriol Servia 2005, Bruno Junqueira 2004, Mario Andretti 1984). The last time the team competed at LVMS, they finished 1-2 with Bourdais and Servia (2005).