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Greg Miles, Twitter: @greg_KOS_sport
Monday, July 9, 2012
Sevenoaks driver claims best finish of the season yet.
Mike Conway twice battled through the field to finish third in the Honda Indy Toronto.
The AJ Foyt driver had a frustrating qualifying session on Saturday, ending the session in P13, but was confident that the pace was in the car for a strong race.
On Sunday Conway lined up for the race start in P11 due to grid penalties incurred by other drivers, but he soon began to carve his way through the field from the moment the race went green and by lap 23 was running strongly in P4.
One lap later a full course caution was brought out to deal with Graham Rahal’s accident which proved bad timing for Conway as he was yet to pit for his first stop of the afternoon. When the pit lane opened Conway came in but found himself back down in P16 when he rejoined the track.
He temporarily dropped down to P18 as he waited for his new primary tyres to come to him but from lap 40 onwards he was able to begin steadily fighting his way back through the field.
On lap 54 Conway made his second pitstop of the afternoon from P8; rejoining the track in P15. Once everyone had made their second stop Conway was running comfortably in P12.
Conway was then given the order to start conserving fuel so that the car could make it to the end of the race without the need for a splash and dash. Fourteen laps later he was given the all clear to push on and with six laps to go had passed a further three cars to be up to P8.
Just one lap later Conway was up to P5 as cars in front of him were forced to pit for fuel while Conway had succeeded in saving enough fuel to complete the race. The race was put under full caution to deal with Josef Newgarden’s accident and the race was restarted with four laps to go. At the restart there was a bottleneck and Sebastien Bourdais was squeezed and ended up tagging the wall which ended his race and elevated Conway to the final podium position.
“The guys at A.J. Foyt Racing have been working really hard all year,” Conway said. “We’ve been getting there, and this weekend I felt like we started off better than we have before, so we just kept dialing in and come warm-up this morning, I was pretty happy with the car.
“I knew that we could work our way forward, but I was surprised at how good we were on that first stint and we could just move our way forward to the front. But you know with that yellow, we got caught out there, I was in the back and had to do it all again, but it was a lot of fun, so big thank you to my ABC Supply crew.
“It was a bit of a struggle in the beginning of the middle stint,” Conway said, “but I just hung in there and waited for other guys’ tyes to go off and then started picking people off again. The guys did a great job all day on pit stops and we just kept picking people off.” <!--[if !mso]--> <!--[endif]-->
Talking about the final restart he said: “It was a bit hairy because it was so dirty on the inside [of the track], I just slowed down enough and tried to avoid Charlie [Kimball],
“I tagged him a little bit but luckily we both made it through the corner. It was kind of hard to see that he was actually on the inside of Seb [Sebastian Bourdais], so I think Seb was taken down on that one which was unfortunate. But a great job for our guys, great podium. It’s been a while since we’ve had one so all credit to them.”
The series heads to Edmonton in Canada for the next round on July 22.