- First IndyCar win
- Restarts key to victory
Mike Conway storms to victory in the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach
Mike Conway secured his first victory in IndyCar with a storming drive through the field at Long Beach, California
After two difficult free practice sessions on Friday which saw Conway struggling for pace, the Andretti Autosport team worked solidly on the car’s set up overnight. With the set up issues resolved, Mike was able to pull together a solid lap time in Saturday’s qualifying session which saw him line up third on the grid.
As the race went green, Conway made a good start and maintained his third position behind team-mate Hunter-Reay. The top three cars were matching each other for pace and quickly pulled away from the rest of the pack.
Continuing to push hard, Conway set the fastest lap of the race on lap nine and had the gap between him and Hunter-Reay down to 0.5 seconds.
On lap 26 the race was put under full caution which caused the field to bunch back up. A lap later the pit lane was opened and everyone made the decision to pit immediately. Conway unfortunately slightly overshot his pit box which saw him lose valuable time, and with everyone else pitting at the same time meant he rejoined down the field in P21.
Conway then spent the next part of the race making his way through the field. A combination of solid lap times coupled with the decision to pit late meant that by the time Mike pitted on lap 61 he was able to rejoin the track in P11.
Just two laps later there was a second full caution due to two separate incidents which saw five of the leading cars taken off. Conway was now running solidly in P6 with only 16 laps to go.
With the race green, Conway got a fantastic restart and was up into P3 by the first corner. He then executed a further two impressive overtaking moves; firstly on Franchitti and then on race leader Briscoe to take the lead.
In clean air, Conway’s blistering pace was immediately apparent and within three laps he had pulled out a four second lead on Briscoe. Conway continued to push hard right up until the chequered flag where he crossed the finish line over six seconds ahead of second place and secured his first IndyCar victory.
It’s a fantastic feeling to win my first IndyCar race.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to win my first IndyCar race. I’d qualified well so was hopeful for a good finish but then my mistake at the first pitstop cost me and saw me at the back of the field. I knew I had a good car so it was a case of pushing on and working my way back up to the front. The car was so strong today and really came to life at the restarts. While the others seemed to struggle to get heat into their tyres I didn’t have this problem and was able to work my way right to the front;” commented Mike Conway.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the team for all the work they’ve put in this weekend and for giving me such a fantastic car to race. We now head to Sao Paulo for the next race in two weeks and I will be looking for another strong race there;” continued Mike Conway.
Mike Conway heads to Sao Paulo on 1st May for round four of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.
-source: mike conway