Mike Conway Pulls Off IndyCar Upset


“I just saw that I’m on top of the points, but I mean really Mike Conway – great job – jumping straight from the couch to the driver’s seat. It just proves that the series is very competitive with the teams. And now we’ve taken the points lead, which is very good. What we had was great; I wish it could’ve been a little bit more, but we’ll take it.

“Our strategy for tomorrow is just to keep it clean like we did today. It was a perfect call from everyone, from John Erickson. For now we just need to keep going. We have a good momentum and we want to get the podium, but in order to get on the podium we have to pass a lot of cars.”

Honda came back in force with seven drivers in the top 10 after a disappointing effort in last week’s 97th Indianapolis 500.

“After the disappointment of last weekend, this was the only acceptable response, to demonstrate to our teams our commitment to win at the highest level,” said Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development. “We look forward to Round 2 tomorrow

It was Conway’s second career IZOD IndyCar Series victory. He won the 2011 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach when he was at Andretti Autosport. After waiting 25 years to get his first victory as a team owner with Wilson at Watkins Glen International in 2009 Dale Coyne scored his third victory on Saturday. Wilson drove Coyne’s car to a win at Texas Motor Speedway last June.

Team Penske driver A.J. Allmendinger crashed on the first lap and injured his thumb when it slammed into the tired barrier.

“I jammed it trying to clear the fence, a tight start on a street course and had guys on both sides of me and ran into the back of Scott Dixon and that was my fault,” Allmendinger said. “It’s just my fault. I feel bad. Trying hard sometimes is not good enough. I’m giving Team Penske everything I’ve got. Not the way I wanted to show my appreciation. I feel bad for everybody on this race team. Try to get them tomorrow.”

After the Saavedra crash the green flag waved with 30 laps to go and Hunter-Ready side-by-side with Conway’s Honda. E.J. Viso got a drive-through penalty for passing before the green flag to foil his day. On Lap 41 James Hinchcliffe got a tire from the tire barrier stuck under the sidepod of his Dallara/Chevrolet forcing him to make an unscheduled pit stop.

Conway drove by Hunter-Reay to take the race lead on Lap 44 when he dove to the inside of Hunter-Reay’s car in a great move.

Points leader Marco Andretti’s race ended in the pits after 48 laps.

Conway stretched his fuel mileage to 28 laps before diving into the pits with 18 laps to go. The Dale Coyne crew put on the Firestone Reds (softer compound tires for improved speed) on the final pit stop. Dixon and Castroneves also pitted during that sequence for a “short fill” of fuel.