Conway Conquers Long Beach
Refusing to give up after a mistake during his first pit stop left him 22nd, Andretti Autosport's Mike Conway put on a late-race charge Sunday at the Grand Prix of Long Beach to pass both Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe to score his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory.
In just his third race back since suffering season-ending injuries at the 2010 Indianapolis 500, Conway started third in today's 27-car field, but locked his brakes and slid past his pit stall during the first round of scheduled pit stops on Lap 27. Returning in 22nd, Conway gained a half-dozen positions during the middle of the 85-lap race, putting himself into a position where he could capitalize on the mistakes of others following a Lap 66 restart, when three separate incidents eliminated or delayed the likes of Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Oriol Servia.
Taking the green flag in sixth after the third and final full-course caution on Lap 70, Conway quickly moved past rookie James Hinchcliffe and veteran Alex Tagliani to take third, then made similar passes on successive laps of Dario Franchitti and race leader Ryan Briscoe to become the sixth and final race leader of the day.
Conway's inaugural IndyCar victory is the first for Andretti Autosport since Tony Kanaan won for the team at Iowa Speedway in 2010.
In addition, continuing a five-year tradition of equality and reliability, all 27 Honda-powered drivers and teams completed the race weekend without a single failure of the Honda Indy V-8 engine. This weekend, the teams logged a total of 9,257 trouble-free miles on the streets of Long Beach.
Behind Conway, Briscoe took advantage of a pit-call gamble by team boss Roger Penske early in the race to finish second after starting 12th, while Franchitti moved into the early-season points lead with his third-place run. Hinchcliffe continued his run of impressive finishes with fourth for Newman Haas Racing, while fellow Canadian Tagliani rounded out the top five.
After starting the season with three road races over the past four weeks, the IZOD IndyCar Series now takes one week off before continuing on May 1 with the first international event of the year, the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
-source: honda racing