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IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500

IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500

Oriol Servia
May 21, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

Q. Oriol, I think we had a lot of money on whether you were going to be a candidate for the pole position and you almost got it. A great, great day for you.
ORIOL SERVIA: I would have lost a lot of money because six months ago, a month ago, Monday, I would have not bet we were going to be in the front row and that close to pole position.
We knew even before we started the week we were going to have a good race car because that's what the team always works on and always achieves. It always gives you good race cars. But at the same time we knew that over the winter we just didn't have the millions to go in wind tunnels and find the last little bit of speed that you need in qualifying.
So we thought if we were really lucky and conditions really set up we were going to be in the top nine. That was our maximum goal. Then when we were in the top nine, you know, we had a bit of a conversation where we were like, well, are we just -- let's not be too stupid here. We have a good race car, let's not crash it. Do we want to just be conservative? We go out there, we put a lap, same setup, or do we go for it? I just had such a good feeling in the other qualifying in the morning with the car that we just said, let's go for it, because it just really felt good.
And you know, it just felt great. I told them after I finished my laps, no matter what happened -- I didn't even know we were actually P1 at the moment. Whatever happened, this is how you want to feel after a qualifying lap. Thank you very much for giving me that, because it was just right on the edge but not one wiggle. It was just perfect. So they gave me a great car. I think we got all out of the car, and that's what -- we got the best we could, and that was enough for a front row. That was enough to be faster than Dario, even before he had his little fuel hiccup, and as I said, to have the three Penskes behind in qualifying, which they are usually pretty good at this game, it just feels amazing and such a great achievement for the whole.
Over the winter we didn't know if we were going to start the season, and they still worked hard on the cars and prepared them not knowing within certainty. Then Telemundo got on board and it got better and just gave us more confidence, and we've been progressing since then. I've just been saying we haven't peaked yet, and it's just coming at the right time. I'm just super happy, proud. It just shows -- qualifying is about true speed. It shows it pays off, the hard work they've done.

Q. I had my head down after your first lap. You could hear the crowd roar.
ORIOL SERVIA: I've been feeling the crowd with that, with a lot of people but with me, too, and it just feels great, especially after a year without racing last year. It just seems like people have appreciated me walking around last year and trying to find a deal right and left, and it's just great.

Q. It seems to me that with you partnering with James Hinchcliffe, I know he missed the first race of the season on the road courses, but then when he did show up I almost feel -- I don't know if that motivated you more but it almost seems like as a combination the two of you work well together with the team and get better results.
ORIOL SERVIA: There's no doubt, I mean, at all. It couldn't be better. It's always good to have a teammate, especially when you're trying to beat those guys named Penske and Ganassi, who not only are good but they have three cars and four cars. With one car alone, it's just going to be impossible. So to have just a teammate is good, but to have a guy like James, which he's got the speed, but also he's gone through three years in Lights and two years in Atlantics, where he's learned that you need to work at things. So he's come with great attitude. We always got along before, so we knew it was going to work. And honestly just feeds the way Newman/Haas works.
Newman/Haas is a true one team. I've never seen it anywhere else. There's nothing that you hide for yourself, from engineers, mechanics. It just works all the way down, and that's what you need if you're going to beat those big guns. It's definitely been huge to have James, and I think we're both just two gears and part of this big team.

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