Sunday, November 19, 2017
Sports

Servia an emergency Grand Prix fill-in for ill Power

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — Oriol Servia showed up for Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg hoping to land an IndyCar ride.

Just not for this weekend.

The 41-year-old wanted to network his way into a car for this year's 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 but ended up filling in for pole-sitter Will Power, who was sidelined with a mild concussion.

"I've been waiting 15 years to get in one of these cars," Servia said of powerhouse Team Penske.

The circumstances (and results) weren't what Servia envisioned. His No. 12 Chevrolet was involved in the day's biggest crash and finished 18th in the 22-car field but drew strong reviews from team owner Roger Penske.

"He jumped in that car like he'd been here all weekend," Penske said.

Servia had to, after Power became queasy Saturday. The two-time Grand Prix winner wrecked during Friday's first practice. He didn't show any symptoms of a concussion, and IndyCar said crash data didn't show anything severe enough to require medical evaluation.

Power qualified Saturday, breaking his own track record (twice) but began to feel ill, leading to Sunday's diagnosis from IndyCar's medical director. Power has to be cleared medically before he can return to the car, perhaps in time for the series' next race — April 2 at Phoenix.

"Heartbroken to not be out there today," Power said via Twitter.

Servia felt bad, too. He and Power remain good friends and were teammates for KV Racing Technology in 2008.

Although Servia hasn't been a full-time IndyCar driver since 2012, he has been in this situation before. He took the ride of Justin Wilson for last year's season finale after Wilson was killed in a crash the previous week.

Servia didn't have his racing suit Sunday, so he borrowed a slightly-too-large one from teammate and eventual race winner Juan Pablo Montoya. His fiancee landed in Tampa just after midnight after taking the next direct flight from Los Angeles with his helmet — still adorned with an image of fellow Spaniard Salvador Dali, a fitting choice for a track that passes the waterfront Dali Museum.

When Servia walked to his car Sunday morning, he didn't know whether he'd be driving the race or just sitting in for the final warmup. He circled his arms forward and backward, did a few jumping jacks and pulled onto the track for the first time, with the green flag less than four hours away.

"It's never easy," Servia said. "But the good thing is, it's the best car on the field."

The problem was that the driver change forced that quick car to start in the back of the field after Power was scratched. Servia climbed four spots in the opening laps, but his progress stopped when he was caught up in an eight-car pileup on lap 57, running into Graham Rahal.

"I was just starting to understand the tires," Servia said. "We just hit him, and it was a mess."

Times staff writer Jim Tomlin contributed to this report. Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

 
Comments
Former Winston teammate: I was in car, nothing inappropriate happened

Former Winston teammate: I was in car, nothing inappropriate happened

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby has released a statement in defense of Jameis Winston, saying he was in the back seat with the Bucs quarterback  during the Uber ride in 2016 and "nothing inappropriate" happened.The NFL is investigating an allegat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Chip Kelly: Florida Gators’ next coach ‘will be really lucky’

Chip Kelly: Florida Gators’ next coach ‘will be really lucky’

With rumors swirling in Gainesville that Chip Kelly might be the Gators' next coach, ESPN asked him about it Sunday morning."Is this your way of firing me?" Kelly responded.Kelly, the former Oregon coach, eventually answered seriously. He didn't deny...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay TechPenix, a Tennessee commit, has been good all season and it seems as if he’s getting even better in the playoffs. On Friday night against Palmetto in the Class 7A region semifinals, he was too ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Ford EcoBoost 4003 p.m.NBCCFLSaskatchewan at Toronto1 p.m.ESPNewsEdmonton at Calgary4:30 p.m.ESPNewsCollege basketballMonmouth at Virginia1 p.m.FSFWomen: Maryland at Connecticut1:30 p.m.ESPNPuerto Rico Tip-Off, fifth pla...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

This is what happens when you have the best record in the league: You get the best from the other team. The Islanders came out strong and the Lightning couldn’t match it, falling behind 4-0 early in the third. For the most part, the Lightning has bee...
Updated: 12 hours ago
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Updated: 12 hours ago
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Updated: 12 hours ago