IZOD IndyCar World Championship – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, October 16, 2011
RACE ENDED EARLY DUE TO THE PASSING OF DAN WHELDON AFTER A MULTI-CAR CRASH
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "This is incredibly sad. We all know this is part of the sport. Cars are getting safer, tracks are getting safer so fortunately it hasn't happened in a long time. We all had a bad feeling about this place in particular just because of the high banking and how easy it was to go flat and if you give us the opportunity, we are drivers and we try to go to the front -- we race each other hard because that's what we do. We knew if could happen but it's just really sad. There was no right or wrong thing to do really on how to proceed. It's the first time ever that we knew that a driver was gone so I think the series did the right thing. Even if you were going to be more careful we were still going to be traveling at a very high speed and in a risky situation. I think Randy's call was rational. He was saying 'Listen, you guys are not thinking straight.' If they had kept us in the car and we still had hope that Dan was going to be okay and they restarted the race sooner you can just focus on what you do. This wasn't the right way either to finish the race or the season; it feels wrong but there was no right way to deal with the situation. I feel so bad for Susie and their kids. It's so tough to understand when somebody is gone that quickly. Dan was always a very happy guy; he was always smiling. He was a funny, great person that touched a lot of people. He will be missed."
FAST FACTS: Missed winning pole in Las Vegas by 0.0037 over two laps and started second. Third front row start of the year (2nd – Loudon; 3rd – Indy)... Will be his third race here and second with NHR. In 2005, he started second, led six laps and finished second to teammate Bourdais to bring NHR a 1-2 finish (lost by less than a few feet). In 2004 he started 18th, led four laps and finished 12th with Dale Coyne Racing... Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 31 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of nine 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... Servia clinched fourth place in series points prior to the Las Vegas event with a total of 425.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's a black day for the sport. We came in here hoping for a good season-finale and ended up losing a very close friend and a very good racing driver. I think Dan was coming into his second wind as a driver. He had so much success early on and he was getting back into that. It's going to be hard next year to climb into the new cars every time knowing that if it wasn't for Dan this thing wouldn't be what it was. He made such an impact on this sport and will even continue to now. It's proof that this is still a very dangerous sport. As hard as we work on the safety side, these things are still very possible. It's tough to put into words what everybody is feeling. There was no right answer on how to deal with this situation in terms of the rest of the race. Deep down we all think Dan would have wanted us to race but out of respect for him we made a decision, right or wrong. We're going to have to regroup over the winter and head into the first race next year and race the whole year for Dan because all I said, the new car that we all are going to be blessed with the opportunity to race, a lot of that is as good as it is because of Dan. My thoughts are with Susie and the kids."
FAST FACTS: This was his first race here. His highest oval start of the season is third in Kentucky and his highest finish is fourth in 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...Ended the season ranked 12th with a total of 302 points and was named Sunoco Rookie of the Year despite missing the St. Pete season-opener.