National Guard Panther Racing Driver Misses Advancing in First Round by Just Half of One Tenth

LEXINGTON, Ohio - (August 3, 2013) – National Guard Panther Racing driver Oriol Servia missed advancing to the second round of Firestone Fast Six qualifications Saturday by just half of a tenth of a second, and will start 18th Sunday in the 90-lap Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Servia admitted he’s never been so happy with the handling of his racecar while at the same time so disappointed with a qualification result, as the Panther crew was able to turn the tables on a sub-par practice day on Friday.

"It’s very rare when you finish qualifying feeling the way I feel – where you don’t transfer - but the car is so good,” Servia admitted. “I’m really happy with the National Guard Chevy and had what I needed; it’s just so tight that we missed transferring by half of a tenth. It’s just one of those things where you need to hit everything right, and on my second (hot) lap I was already two-tenths down a few corners in, but on the third corner I just tried a little too hard and l lost the rear.”

Servia was eliminated from the first round of qualifications after posting a quick lap of 122.771 mph, 1:06.2839 seconds. The session was interrupted early with a red flag coming out for Luca Filippi, who got into the Turn 12 tires, which significantly cut down on the amount of time that Servia had to post his quick lap. Once the track returned to green Servia was able to post just three timed laps and just narrowly missed advancing to the second round.

“It’s amazing what IndyCar is today and what it takes to be up front, and this year is very special,” Servia continued. “But I’m really happy with the work we’ve done, I had the engineers here working until late, and the car is really good. You know with this place it’s hard to overtake and the way they’ve done the length of the race I’m not sure there’s room for multiple strategies. You never know what could happen, I’ve got a good car and hopefully we can get up front and make the National Guard proud that we’re with them.”

Chevrolet drivers swept the front row for tomorrow’s race as Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay took pole position and will be joined on the front row by Team Penske’s Will Power.

Panther Hosts 80 Girl Scouts from Ohio for “Mother-Daughter” Picnic:
Panther Racing hosted a large group of area Girl Scouts on Saturday thanks to the Ohio National Guard and Adjutant General Deborah Ashenhurst. The team is honoring female National Guard soldiers this weekend with its “Pink Camo” IndyCar design in part because MG Ashenhurst is the only female adjutant general in the United States. The team conducted a short program with the Girl Scouts in its hospitality unit and then guided them on a tour of both the NBC Sports Network TV compound and through the garage area, including a visit to Firestone Racing, who has joined the team’s effort this weekend by creating a special pink sidewall Firehawk tire for the weekend. The visit concluded with the Girl Scouts receiving a specialty-made patch in the IndyCar Fan Village from the team’s popular mascot Clutch the Cat.

Panther Racing Mid-Ohio Qualification History:
2012: JR Hildebrand, Started 12th (finished 9th)
2011: JR Hildebrand, Started 13th (finished 25th)
2010: Dan Wheldon, Started 13th (finished 14th)
2009: Dan Wheldon, Started 17th (finished 16th)
2008: Vitor Meira, Started 11th (finished 6th)
2007: Kosuke Matsuura, Started 13th (finished 12th)
2007: Vitor Meira, Started 18th (finished 17th)

Race Broadcast Info:
The Honda Indy 200 will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on August 4th at 3:00 pm (ET), with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar Mobile app from Verizon. -