Fan favorite and driver’s driver Oriol Servia is used to being an IndyCar underdog, but not making the Indy 500 field is not something Servia is used to or has even considered. Yet there he was last Saturday, in grave danger of being one of two who would be bumped out (and bummed out) on Bump Day.
“It’s been probably the biggest roller-coaster of my life, just today,” said Servia. “We started today in free practice, 8 a.m. in the morning, the track was green and it’s usually a little tricky in those hours. The car was the best it’s been the whole month. It was perfect.
“And then we went out in qualifying, and I almost crashed on Lap 1. Thankfully, we saved it, came in. We made some changes. We thought we were going to be pretty solid in the show. We didn’t take any risks, we put some downforce back in the car, we just wanted to make the show. I went out and it was as awful as the other attempt. We didn’t know what was going on.”
By the end of the day, Servia will the car into the show through sheer courage. “It was just the hardest I’ve driven – the hardest 12 laps I’ve driven ever. When the car is off, it’s not right, at a speedway like this, there’s not much you can do apart from trying not to crash, which is what I did. It was really difficult. At that point (on the last run), you’re committed.”
Watch this eatmyink video interview with Servia:
“Like (James Hinchcliffe), if you come in, you might not have a chance to go out again. I knew I had to try to stick it in. I’m happy for the effort, and we’ll see what we’ve got tomorrow.” Former pole sitter Hinchcliffe felt a vibration, waved off his attempt, and never made it back out on track before time ran out. See all about that here.
“It’s one of those days – it’s Indy drama. I was talking yesterday about how sad it would be that we have 35 great entries this year and two will go home. That’s the drama we were all waiting for – Bump Day. Then, here I am, and I think it’s going to be me because that’s how the day went. We were 31st; the car just wasn’t right. I don’t know why.
“We had all the right ingredients to not only be in the race, but to be challenging for the pole, and we almost didn’t make it. That shows how challenging this race is.”
Servia improved considerably to 26th on Pole Day, and that is where he’ll start the 500.
“We just tried to get a good baseline today,” Servia said. “Nothing crazy, to get a solid four laps. I feel we are in a good place to regain confidence from yesterday. Now we just need to focus on the race.
“We have a good place to go back to. Thursday we had a good car in traffic. Obviously, we wanted to start way more forward than where we are, but I have come from the back many times in this race. It just makes your life easier when you start from the front. But I guess I am going to have to work a little hard on May 27th, but that is what we are here for.”
Results of qualifying Sunday for the 12nd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race presented by PennGrade Motor Oil Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 2:36.7818 (229.618 mph)
2. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 2:37.3696 (228.761)
3. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 2:37.4757 (228.607)
4. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 2:37.6151 (228.405)
5. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 2:37.7965 (228.142)
6. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 2:37.8208 (228.107)
7. (13) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 2:37.8326 (228.090)
8. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 2:37.9924 (227.859)
9. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 2:38.4076 (227.262)
10. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 2:38.1278 (227.664)
11. (4) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 2:38.1922 (227.571)
12. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 2:38.3894 (227.288)
13. (19) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 2:38.5908 (226.999)
14. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 2:38.7389 (226.788)
15. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 2:38.8304 (226.657)
16. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 2:38.9003 (226.557)
17. (32) Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, 2:39.0119 (226.398)
18. (6) Robert Wickens, Honda, 2:39.0835 (226.296)
19. (33) James Davison, Chevrolet, 2:39.1128 (226.255)
20. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 2:39.1430 (226.212)
21. (29) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 2:39.2585 (226.048)
22. (88) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 2:39.2874 (226.007)
23. (25) Stefan Wilson, Honda, 2:39.3889 (225.863)
24. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 2:39.4171 (225.823)
25. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 2:39.4696 (225.748)
26. (64) Oriol Servia, Honda, 2:39.5044 (225.699)
27. (66) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 2:39.7032 (225.418)
28. (7) Jay Howard, Honda, 2:39.7245 (225.388)
29. (10) Ed Jones, Honda, 2:39.7433 (225.362)
30. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 2:39.7679 (225.327)
31. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 2:39.8193 (225.254)
32. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 2:40.0462 (224.935)
33. (17) Conor Daly, Honda, 2:40.4073 (224.429)
story, photos and video by Tim Hailey