Servia tops rookie practice at Richmond Dixon dominant over last 17 races Select quotes from Danica Patrick media availability Castroneves, Duno nominated for Tecate Sports Award
1. Servia tops rookie practice at Richmond: KV Racing Technology teammates Oriol Servia and Will Power topped a practice session at Richmond International Raceway. The practice session afforded eight rookies and drivers transitioning to the IndyCar Series with 90 minutes of practice. Four IndyCar Series drivers who have not previously raced at Richmond also received 30 minutes of practice time.
Servia lapped the .75-mile oval, the shortest on the IndyCar Series schedule, in 16.1392 seconds, 167.295 mph. Power was second at 165.185 mph while HVM Racing’s E.J. Viso was third and Conquest Racing’s Enrique Bernoldi was fourth.
“I think we were a little bit off on the lap times compared to last year for the moment, but it was our first time around,” Servia said. “The car felt comfortable. I liked the balance. I can see that the race must be really tough in traffic, because on your own already everything is narrow, and you already have issues getting your marks. I can only imagine how it’s going to be like with 26 cars and dirty air and this and that. I can see that this is a place where you can make mistakes easily, so we’re going to have to keep our brain on top of the game.”
Practice will open for all 26 drivers entered in the SunTrust Indy Challenge June 27 at noon (EDT). PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying presented by Advance Auto Parts is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
2. Dixon dominant over last 17 races: When Scott Dixon headed to Richmond International Raceway a year ago, he was coming off a 10th-place finish at Iowa that left him third in the IndyCar Series point standings, 52 points behind Dario Franchitti.
The 2007 SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond was the beginning of an incredible tear for the native New Zealander. Dixon finished second at Richmond before rattling off four victories in the final eight races of the season, outscoring Franchitti 370-331 in the nine-race stretch.
The momentum hasn’t slowed in the first eight races of 2008. The driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry has seven top-five finishes, including three victories, and holds a 48-point advantage over Helio Castroneves.
“A run like that for me personally is a direct reflection of the work that the team does at Target Chip Ganassi Racing,” Dixon said. “I’m fortunate enough to have a great teammate in Dan Wheldon and an owner in Chip (Ganassi) that values your opinion and puts you in the best possible position to contend for race wins. To be honest, I don’t really look at the numbers. We as a team are focused on taking one race at a time and that’s all we can do each weekend.”
A look at Dixon’s 17-race “season” since Richmond last year:
Second place: 4
Top 10: 16
Laps led: 823
Points since last year’s race at Richmond:
Scott Dixon – 686
Tony Kanaan – 537
Helio Castroneves – 489
Danica Patrick – 431
Dan Wheldon – 431
Marco Andretti - 390
3. Select quotes from Danica Patrick media availability: Danica Patrick met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway. Below are select quotes:
Q: The extra 50 laps (at Richmond) does that add a little bit more strategy, because in the past we saw guys like Scott Dixon and Dario (Franchitti) last year, just kind of run away with it.
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, I've been asking, I was asking Dan (Grabski), who does all the fuel calculations and plays a big role in that part of the strategy, and I asked him how this is going to affect it. And that's usually a question I'll ask before the race starts: Is this a no‑brainer, you must stop three times, or this like a save fuel stop two times kind of a race. That's what I was asking him last week. And he said I don't know I'll have to look into that.
So I don't have my answer yet. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking like that. I can only imagine, the longer the race goes the more strategy plays into it. The Indy 500 is the perfect example.
So this is the situation. So I'm sure, yeah, it's going to lend to strategy, for sure.
Q: Would you embrace the role of maybe being the bad guy? Because it's worked for Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart in NASCAR, you could probably make that ‑‑
DANICA PATRICK: I don't think that it's ever a route that you choose to be the bad guy. I think that in an ideal world I would win over everyone's heart and be a sweetheart and be tough on the track and have great finishes, that would be ideal and that people would like me from that standpoint.
But, unfortunately, when you're popular, you get, again, positive and negative attention. There's just no ‑‑ I have no control over that.
4. Castroneves, Duno nominated for Tecate Sports Award: IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves and Milka Duno represent two-third of the nominees for Auto Racer of the Year in the first annual “Tecate Premios Deportes” (Tecate Sports Awards).
The nominees, comprised of Hispanic athletes in 10 categories, have been selected for their talent, character and perseverance, as well as their contributions to and impact on the Hispanic community. The "Tecate Premios Deportes" awards will be presented during a celebrity-filled "red carpet" celebration at the historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., and will be broadcast July 20 on the Univision Network.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the SunTrust Indy Challenge June 28 at Richmond International Raceway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 8 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Corning Duels same-day doubleheader on July 5 at Watkins Glen International. The races will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 10 on ESPN2 and live on indycar.com.