General: Mike Conway finishes seventh at Watkins Glen

4th July 2018

3rd July 2018

Mike Conway retained his championship lead in the 2018 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup as the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R  of Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, and Mike Conway finished seventh in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen on Sunday.

The team entered the event holding the championship points lead and carrying the momentum of a breakthrough victory in the most recent round in the Detroit Grand Prix. Welcoming Mike back to the lineup, the trio looked to extend their podium-winning streak as Watkins Glen International played host to the penultimate round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.

The 3.4-mile circuit saw action get underway on Friday with the first two practice sessions of the weekend where Mike and the team got up to speed with the car and track. With Mike not racing on the circuit since 2009 when he raced in IndyCar, he used the sessions to dial in his technique in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac.

Debuting a spectacular Stars and Stripes livery, Felipe Nasr was chosen to do the team’s qualifying run in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R and he secured 11th on the grid after posting a 1:33.716-seconds lap in Saturday’s 15-minute qualifying session.

Nasr started the race from ninth in the order and held station in the top ten for the opening segments of the race before turning the car over to Curran and then Conway as the Whelen machine motored through the laps on a series of extended green flag runs. The first day of July was a robust example of the summer season as the crew and drivers all had to contend with very warm temperatures at the upstate New York track.

With the continually evolving IMSA regulations, the Cadillac Prototype couldn’t produce the top speeds that some of the other Prototype machines enjoyed, but the team kept its head down and worked to maximize what was on offer with good stops and smart strategy.

That effort saw Curran move up to run sixth by lap 90, with Conway upping the ante by moving up to fourth by lap 120 of the 202-lap race. The push forward continued as Nasr held second position on lap 159 following a string of quick laps after he found a good gap in traffic.

A final pit stop didn’t net the team the track position they were hoping for after a balky wheel nut slowed the stop. But once returning to action, Nasr focused on equal parts pace and economy to hold his track position and make sure the car would make it to the finish on fuel, taking the checkered flag in seventh.

“It’s good to be back with the Action Express guys driving the Whelen car like usual,” said Conway. “It’s always fun! We knew it was going to be tough coming into the weekend but we maximized what we could have done. The last two thirds looked like we had a chance to secure it but a bad pit stop took that from us. We tried as hard as we could. It’s more points for the championship which is good and I hope the rest of the year moves in a positive direction for the team.”

Mike now leaves the Action Express Racing team, who lead the championship, as his WEC calendar clashes with the final Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup round at Petit Le Mans.

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