PROMISING RACE WEEKEND IN ST PETE CUT SHORT BY GEARBOX ISSUES FOR MIKE CONWAY
British racing driver Mike Conway kick started his 2012 IZOD Indycar season with a strong showing at St Petersburg which saw him running as high as P2 before gearbox problems forced him to retire from the race.
The AJ Foyt driver of the #14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda car had a difficult qualifying session and posted the eleventh quickest time on Saturday afternoon. Mike Conway commented; “Obviously we’re very disappointed. The red tyres really didn’t suit us. We went half a second slower on the reds than we did on the blacks this morning so we need to get on top of that. We just need to improve overnight before Sunday’s race.”
Changes were made to Conway’s car ahead of Sunday morning’s practice session and the British driver finished the session in P1; feeling confident ahead of the race.
The race went green at 1pm local time and Conway had a solid first stint in the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg before pitting on lap 14. He rejoined the track in P15 but in a strong track position as a number of cars ahead of him made the call not to pit.
At the restart Conway was up to P13 before another full course caution was brought out three laps later. At the restart Conway was up to P9 and then made a move on Franchitti for P8. Conway then set about catching Viso who was just one tenth ahead.
By lap 35 Conway was running in P6 and, posting some strong lap times, was up to P2 on lap 38. With another full course caution being brought out on lap 46 Conway pitted for fuel but the wheel gun jammed losing him vital time in the pits and meant he rejoined the track in P12.
With just 30 laps to go Conway started to suffer with gearbox issues and was forced to retire from the race ten laps later. “Things were going good and then we had a bad pit stop where the gun jammed which set us back a few positions. After that we just tried to stay out of trouble. The car was pretty good on the blacks but we struggled on the red tyres. Then I lost 3rd gear and then 4th so it was a struggle to stay out of people’s way so I pulled in. It’s too bad because everyone on the ABC Supply team did a good job this weekend. We just have to keep learning about this car and keep pushing. I’m confident we’ll get there;” commented Mike Conway.