Indy Car Race Results Archive: Frustrating weekend for Conway at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

31st March 2014

Mike Conway finished 16th yesterday at the Verizon IndyCar Series season-opener Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Conway was making his debut with Ed Carpenter Racing at the weekend and immediately made an impact in qualifying on Saturday. After a three and half hour delay, due to severe weather and tornado warnings, he drove the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet to 12th on the starting grid, which was the team’s best start at St. Petersburg.

By the middle of the 110 lap race, the talented 30-year-old had battled his way from 12th to third and looked to be closing on second place Hunter-Reay. However a radio communication mishap ended Conway’s chances of achieving this. With the yellow flag being shown on lap 76, the team asked him to pit the next lap, however Conway didn’t hear the radio and stayed out. On the final lap of yellow, he thought the safety car was waving him through and so passed it to enter the pits. Unfortunately, this wasn’t meant for him but Hinchcliffe and was therefore given a ‘drive through’ penalty for the confusion, which ended Conway’s hopes of a podium and instead was left with 16th.

“As the day went on, we steadily moved up and we got to third,” said Conway. “I think we had a different strategy from other teams. We made some big gains on the red tires and passed a lot of cars, so that was very positive. I didn’t need a yellow for my final stop; I wanted to hold the gap when we went to the black tires. I never heard the radio communication to come into the pits and thought the safety car had waved me by but they were waving (James) Hinchcliffe by instead. I don’t know if there was a communication problem there too, but that was it. It messed up our whole day and that was definitely a frustrating end after driving to third.”

Conway’s next IndyCar race is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 11-13, which was where he earned his maiden IndyCar victory in 2011. 

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