THREE DREYER & REINBOLD DRIVERS TAKE THE CHECKERED FLAG SUNDAY Rookie Conway Runs In the Top Ten, Andretti Moves to 12th During 500 Mile Race INDIANAPOLIS (May 24, 2009)-- Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers Mike Conway and John ...
THREE DREYER & REINBOLD DRIVERS TAKE THE CHECKERED FLAG SUNDAY
Rookie Conway Runs In the Top Ten, Andretti Moves to 12th During 500 Mile Race
INDIANAPOLIS (May 24, 2009)-- Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers Mike Conway and John Andretti were in position to score Top Ten finishes Sunday in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race before a late yellow flag hurt their chances.
Conway, a 25-year-old rookie from England, was the leading first-year racer for much of Sunday's 200-lap classic and turned in a sensational performance throughout his initial Brickyard race. In fact, only a long caution period on lap 173 halted Conway's chance of the "Rookie of the Year" honors.
The driver of No. 24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara, who spent a night at Methodist Hospital in downtown Indianapolis earlier in the month due to a practice incident, was racing veterans Paul Tracy, Dario Franchitti and Hideki Mutoh wheel-to-wheel for nearly 30 laps before he pitted late for fuel and tires. In fact, Conway recorded the fast lap of the race on lap 169 with a 221.919 miles per hour, only to be bettered 18 laps later by Franchitti at 222.044 m.p.h.
Conway's second fastest lap of the entire event made for an impressive debut for the Brit in only his second oval race ever. Due to the late pit stop, Conway placed 18th at the finish from a 27th starting position.
Andretti, starting his tenth Indy 500 [along with 10 Brickyard 400 starts], also turned in a tremendous drive from his 28th starting spot by driving the No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara to 12th on lap 131. But a restart hurt the Indy native's chances when he was forced near the wall and lost 10 positions due to dirt on his tires.
With Richard Petty watching from his pit area, Andretti fought his way back into the Top 15 with 30 laps remaining in the race. Like Conway, Andretti pitted on lap 173 for fuel and new tires and a possible late-race dash to a Top Ten slot. But track conditions had become slippery. and passing was difficult. Andretti was able to finish 19th.
Milka Duno, in her third Indy 500 race, piloted the No. 23 CITGO DRR Honda Dallara to 20th position Sunday after starting 30th. Anna Chatten, who handled the air vent on the No. 23 car's pit stops today, was the third woman ever on an "over the wall pit crew during an Indy 500 race.
Meanwhile, Davey Hamilton suffered through a frustrating day in the No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara. Hamilton, who started 22nd, had a shifting problem early in the event and handling issue by lap 55. Unfortunately, the handling became worse for the popular Idaho driver and his machine hit the outside of Turn Three on lap 82. Hamilton was not injured in the mishap.
The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team is one of two teams have three cars finishing the 93rd running of the Indy 500. Team Penske , with winner Helio Castroneves, also had three cars finish the event.
The next stop for the IndyCar Series will be the famed Milwaukee Mile, the oldest auto racing facility in North America.
MIKE CONWAY, No. 24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara:
"It was a little frustrating at the end. I was running P10 and I think we could have finished there. But we made a call to pit late for tires and fuel. And it wasn't the right one for the finish. I had a great chance to be the highest placing rookie today. I had a good race with John [Andretti] today. I think we deserved a better finish than we got."
JOHN ANDRETTI, No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara:
"This has been a long month. Our goal was a Top Ten, and we were moving towards that end, running 12th. But, on a restart, I got pushed out to the wall and got the car in the dirt. Then everybody behind me was able to get by. It took me a few laps to clean off the tires and get going again. I got a good restart the next time and went from 22nd to 16th. At the end, we did the opposite strategy as the leaders. We took new tires and some fuel, hoping to drive through the field. But the track was just too slippery to make a move. So, we probably had a better car than our finish today. But, overall. It has been a good month. It was fun to bring the 'King' [Richard Petty] as a car owner at the Indianapolis 500."
MILKA DUNO, No. 23 CITGO Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara:
"We had a good race today. We just lost a lap and we couldn't get it back. The CITGO team had some good pit stops today. It is always great to race in the Indianapolis 500. It is so exciting to be here. I look forward to coming back next year."
DAVEY HAMILTON, No. 44 HP Kingdom Racing Honda Dallara:
"The HP Kingdom Racing car was the same as we had on Friday in Carb Day. I got the car in the marbles and white walled the tires in Turn Three. Then I was just trying the slow the car down. And that put us out of the race. It was some hard to pass today. And, if you tried to make an outside move, it was easier to get into the marbles and the wall. It wasn't kind of day we wanted."