Second suits Servia at Baltimore
This time, Oriol Servia was content with a runner-up finish.
Servia, who started 14th in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, slipped to second place in the No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing car on Lap 61 as the last of the lead pack cars peeled off for their final service stops.
Servia and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan pitted on Lap 43 during a full-course caution (Servia was 10th and Kanaan 11th in the running order) and stretched their 22 gallons of ethanol and Firestone Firehawk tires 32 laps on the 2.04-mile, 12-turn street circuit.
That contributed to neither being able to challenge eventual winner Will Power, but victories come in all sizes.
"Before (Power) came out of the pits (Lap 59), I knew I had to push because it was going to be close," Servia said. "But I was looking at my fuel mileage, and that lap that I pushed him I used more fuel than I should have. The worst thing would be if I tried to push and then I come up short and lose fuel, so I was hoping for another yellow at the end to maybe get him. If not, I knew it was his race."
It was Servia's second runner-up finish of the season and fifth top five. Three weeks earlier at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he was credited with second place following a protest regarding a late-race restart that went awry because of a rain-slicked racing surface. Of course, the result didn't sit well with the racer who has 162 Indy car starts.
He advanced seven positions to finish 11th in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 28, and this result in the final street course race of the season buoyed his confidence and altered his countenance.
"We're fourth in points and fighting for the podium every race, and there's more to come," he said. "We never gave up. I crashed in qualifying but we never gave up. The car was great and the strategy was even better. Newman/Haas always works hard and we are bringing Telemundo to the podium, which is great. I knew if I didn't make any mistakes the podium was ours."
Power's victory sliced 21 points off fourth-place finisher and championship front-runner Dario Franchitti's lead with three races remaining (one road course and a pair of 1.5-mile ovals). In the 18 road/street course races over the past two seasons, the Verizon Team Penske drivers has amassed 10 victories and has missed a top-five finish only three times.
"I gave it absolutely everything I had," said Power, who also captured his series-leading seventh pole of the season and tied Johnny Rutherford for 12th on the all-time list in the process. "That was an unbelievable result; one of my best races ever. That's exactly what we needed. We're closing in (on Franchitti)."
He also took over the Mario Andretti Road Trophy lead heading to the final road course of the season at Twin Ring Motegi on Sept. 17.