Conway wins Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach|
Long Beach, CA (Sports Network) - Mike Conway won Sunday's IZOD IndyCar
Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He finished 6.3203 seconds ahead
of runner-up Ryan Briscoe.
It was the first win of Conway's IndyCar career.
Will Power, who started on the pole for the third time this season in three
starts, made the initial move to beat Ryan Hunter-Reay to the first turn and
built his lead over last year's Long Beach winner to nearly one second by Lap
But Hunter-Reay was running with the slower "black" Firestone tires while
Power was on the faster "reds" which could mean an advantage for Hunter-Reay
later in the race. Ryan Briscoe, was the only other driver in the top-12 using
Through 20 laps, the top-10 stayed just as they had started with Power,
Hunter-Reay, Conway, Oriol Servia and Justin Wilson leading the way. The top-
three, though, owned a six-second lead on fourth-place Servia.
The first "bobble" of the day was a spin by Wilson, with some help from behind
by Helio Castroneves. Two cars, Alex Tagliani and Briscoe ducked into the pits
expecting a caution flag, but none appeared. They got lucky, however, when a
second spin, by Simona De Silvestro, brought out the first caution of
the day on lap 25 and Tagliani and Briscoe inherited the lead as the remainder
of the field pitted.
Briscoe, on "reds," blasted by Tagliani on the restart at Lap 32 and Hunter-
Reay got past Power for third place in Turn 1. Hunter-Reay spent a lap in
third and then slide past Tagliani for second, but in the meantime Briscoe
built a one and a half second lead. Power followed Hunter-Reay past Tagliani
on the following lap as the action began to heat up.
Briscoe's lead was two seconds on Hunter-Reay and three second on Power at Lap
43 and expanding. At Lap 52 Briscoe had opened up a four-second lead.
Briscoe pitted on Lap 57, yielding the lead to Hunter-Reay. An 8.3-second stop
left Briscoe in position to re-assume the top spot when the rest of the field
came in for their final stop. Hunter-Reay came in on Lap 59 and Power one lap
Briscoe again built a three-second lead, but a full-course caution caused by
an Wilson crash eliminated the gap. Briscoe won the race to the first turn,
but Castroneves and Power collided and ended their chances to win the race.
They finally restarted the race with 15 laps remaining and Briscoe led Hunter-
Reay and Dario Franchitti into the first turn. Hunter-Reay held his position
for half a lap and then suddenly slowed. Conway, in fourth, jumped past both
Franchitti and Hunter-Reay for second.
Then with 14 laps remaining Conway slipped inside Briscoe for the lead.
"I had nothing for him," said Briscoe. "He came out of turn five and flew
right by me."
Conway was the fastest car on the track and built a 2.5-second lead with a
dozen laps remaining and over four seconds with 10 to go.
From there it was a smooth ride to the checkered flag and the winner's circle
for the third-year driver.
Franchitti, rookie James Hinchcliffe and Tagliani completed the top-five.
"I am so happy," said owner Michael Andretti. "He impressed me the first time
we put him in a race car. We knew he was going to win races,"
"Awesome," said Conway. "The car was great and I have to thank the team for
this result. I thought my day might be done when I overshot my pit, but
everything worked out."
With his third-place finish, Franchitti takes a seven-point lead over Power as
the series heads to Brazil on May 1st for the fourth race of the IndyCar
04/17 19:28:02 ET