Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, April 10, 2011
TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA FINISHED FIFTH IN THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA; SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE WAS HIT WHILE ATTEMPTING TO AVOID A MULTI-CAR CRASH
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was an exciting race. It’s great to finish fifth for the Telemundo team. We had a top-10 finish last week and top-five this week. It’s only the second race but we are making big improvements every weekend. It shows what a tremendous job Newman/Haas Racing does and how hard they work. We were consistently strong in each session we got to run and were up to third in the race at one point. You gain in some restarts and you lose in some. It was especially difficult when you were on black Firestone tires and others were on ‘reds’ and were passing you but I think that makes the race more exciting for us and the fans. It’s a bit of a chess game. There were many starts and restarts that it’s almost impossible to recall what happened in all of them. It was fun to race with TK (Tony Kanaan); we’ve been racing together for many years. He is a tough competitor but he is clean. I knew I had to do my job well because he was going to take any opportunity I would give him to pass me. I just had to focus on not making any mistakes. I am happy for Newman/Haas Racing. This result shows that all of the work the team did over the winter paid off. And a top-five finish is good for our new program with Telemundo. They already sent us a text about our finish so it’s good to make them happy.”
FAST FACTS: Oriol ran as high as third and finished fifth today after qualifying sixth…Was his first time to race at this course. He attended the 2010 open test as a spectator and drove here for the first time at the 2011 IICS open test on March 14-15 where he set the fifth fastest time overall as well as temporarily held the fastest time on 3-15…Servia also tested with the team in Sebring for two days in December 2010. Prior to that his previous time behind the wheel of an Indy car was also with NHR at the 2009 race in Japan where he finished fourth…Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 16 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of seven top-three, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 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 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We got off to a rough start. I was hoping to not make too many rookie mistakes and on Lap 1 we went around (spun) and fell to the back but the team got me back on a great strategy; we were down to two stops and I think we were running pretty well. That restart bunched everybody up and we were on red tires and everybody else was on blacks so it was looking pretty good. We were looking at a shot of getting in or around the top-10. On the restart, I think Simona got into E.J. and that wasn’t his fault but Day 1 of racing school you learn that when you are spinning you hit the brakes and the clutch and he just hit the gas. I went around the outside of him hoping he would just hit the brakes but he pinned it (hit throttle) and the back end whipped around and took us out. It wasn’t his fault (that) he spun; he just put himself in a bad position and ended up taking us out too. It was an unfortunate day for the whole team. Newman/Haas deserved better than that today, Sprott deserved better than that today. Just keep you head up and move on to the next one.”
FAST FACTS: James retired in 24th place today after he completed 40 of 90 laps. He started eighth, spun on the opening lap and was later hit while trying to avoid a multi-car accident ahead of him while in 12th place.…Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) is the only track James has driven an Indy car on to date that he will race on this season. The team ran James in two, two-day tests at Sebring International Raceway prior to bringing him to BMP for the open test March 14-15. He set the fifth fastest time overall on Monday (3-14) and the seventh fastest (3-15) overall time over two days at the IICS open test at Barber as well as temporarily held the fastest time on Tuesday…Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after wins in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicagoland and poles in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Watkins Glen and Edmonton. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races. Hinchcliffe progressed through the ranks of the Rotax (2002), F2000 (2003), Formula BMW (2004), Star Mazda (2005), and Atlantic series (2006-2008) before joining the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2009. He also competed in a season of A1GP competition (2007)…He tested with NHR for two days at Sebring in December and another two days in January before testing at Barber Motorsports Park March 14-15 where he set the seventh fastest time overall at the test.
NEXT UP: The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will take place next weekend, April 15-17. NHR will make their 28th consecutive appearance here and has earned SIX WINS, 11 POLES and 14 PODIUMS at this event. (WINS by Bourdais 2007, 2006, 2005 & Mario Andretti 1987, 1985, 1984; 2nd place finishes by Junqueira 2004, Cristiano da Matta 2001, Nigel Mansell 1994, Michael Andretti 1989; 3rd place finishes by Junqueira 2005 & 2003, Bourdais 2004, Mansell 1993.) (POLES by Wilson 2008, Bourdais 2006-2007, Junqueira 2004, Mi. Andretti 1995, Mansell 1993, Mi. Andretti 1992, Mi. Andretti 1991, Ma. Andretti 1987, Ma. Andretti 1985, and Ma. Andretti 1984.)