British racing driver Mike Conway endured a tough race weekend in Sonoma for the latest round of the IZOD Indycar Championship. The AJ Foyt driver was innocently caught up in two separate racing incidents, which dropped him back through the field.
In Saturday’s qualifying session Conway qualified 16th out of 27th cars but was elevated to 14th due to Wilson and Saavedra incurring 10-spot grid penalties. Conway and the team had struggled to find a solid set up for the car in Friday afternoon and Saturday morning’s practice sessions, and although the car was improved for qualifying, the car was still someway off the pole-sitter’s pace.
Conway lined up for the race start in 14th place. On the opening lap Conway was forced to avoid a battle between Dixon and Castroneves, which resulted in the AJ Foyt driver dropping back to 17th place by the end of lap one.
Conway then set about working his way back through the field and by the time he stopped for his first pitstop of the afternoon on lap 16 he was back up to P14.
Having pitted for red tyres Conway pushed hard out on track and on lap 39 pitted for his second stop of the afternoon from P13. The AJ Foyt team fitted a set of used red tyres onto Conway’s car as they wanted to save the remaining set of tyres for the final fuel stint.
However when Conway rejoined the track he became stuck behind a lapped car and his tyres quickly went off. As a result Conway slipped down to 15th place and went a lap down before he was able to pit for new tyres at the final stop of the afternoon on lap 61.
Conway rejoined the field down in P20 but once everyone had taken their final stop of the race he was running in P14. On lap 65 a full course caution was brought out for an incident involving Bourdais and Newgarden. At the restart Conway was up to P13 and was closing in on Jakes for P12. Unfortunately on lap 79 Servia tagged the back of Conway’s car, forcing him into a spin. Conway kept the car going but had lost three places in the spin.
In the closing laps Conway was able to pass Saavedra for 15th place and with four laps remaining was elevate to P14 when Servia was given a drive-through penalty.
“It was a tough race. We started making headway and were moving up through the field in the first two stints,” Conway said. “Then we put on slightly used reds, which we thought would be better than another set of blacks, but that was probably a mistake. The tyres went off just as I was trying to pass a lapped car. I lost a lot of track position and then went a lap down and that killed our race. It’s a shame because the ABC boys gave me good pit stops, but we just couldn’t catch a break. We passed a lot of cars but it’s frustrating that we don’t have more to show for all the effort. ”
Source: Mike Conway media