DETROIT June 2, 2012—Mike Conway will start outside of Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti as the pair will start in the eighth row for Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, marking the return of the IZOD IndyCar Series to Belle Isle for the first time since 2008. It is the first time this year that Conway has started lower than 11th on a street/road circuit.
“We struggled since this morning and we didn’t really get the ABC Supply car much better,” Conway said after clocking a speed of 104.003 mph in his ABC Supply Honda. “The car’s a real handful so we have a lot of work to do tonight to figure it out. I think it’s going to be a race of attrition tomorrow so we have to get it the best we can.”
The engineers poured through the data and believe that the track gripped up more than it has historically in the past. In their estimation, they didn’t compensate enough for the changing track conditions today but are confident that the changes they make for tomorrow will allow Conway to be competitive in the race.
Franchitti’s teammate Scott Dixon edged out Will Power for the pole and became the first driver other than Power to win a pole this season on either a road or street course. Dixon, in a Honda, posted a speed of 105.978mph to Power’s 105.972mph run in a Chevrolet. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were Alex Tagliani, Simon Pagenaud, E.J. Viso and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Yesterday, Conway ended the session as 11th quickest after spending much of the practice session in the top 5.
“It was good to get on track,” Conway said Friday afternoon. “I was quite excited to get on it because I’d never been here before. The first impression is good. It’s as bumpy as it looked out there Thursday just walking around. I thought the car was handling pretty good at the beginning. We made a few changes trying to improve it and maybe went back a little bit on one change and didn’t go any quicker but then we went back out and found a bit more pace again. Just would have liked to get in more running but it’s the same for everybody.”