Race Report- St. Pete

Strong Run Ends Early for Mike Conway and ABC Supply Team in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, FL Mar 25, 2012—Mike Conway’s strong run in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg ended in pit lane as the gearbox broke on the ABC Supply Dallara/Honda in the IZOD IndyCar Series season opener.

“Things were going good and then we had a bad pit stop that set us back a few positions,” said Conway. “After that we just tried to stay out of trouble. The car had pretty good pace on the blacks but we struggled on the red tires.  Then I lost 3rd gear and then 4th and it was a struggle to stay out of people’s way so I pulled in. It’s too bad because everyone on the ABC Supply team did a good job this weekend. We just have to keep learning about this car and keep pushing. We’ll get there.”

Conway qualified 12th but started 11th when Simon Pagenaud’s team was assessed a 10-spot grid penalty because of an unscheduled engine change prior to qualifying yesterday. Running quickest in the final warm-up on race morning, Conway gave the nearly  600 ABC Supply guests on hand something to talk about.

Mike Conway Starts 11th in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, FL Mar 24, 2012--Mike Conway will start 11th in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Sunday afternoon.

Conway, who was fifth in this morning's practice in the Honda-powered ABC Supply Dallara,  made it into the second round of qualifying but was not able to advance further.

“Obviously very disappointed," Conway said after he climbed out of the car. "The red tires really didn’t suit us. We went a half second slower on the reds than we did the blacks this morning so we need to get on top of that. We just need to improve overnight.”

Will Power won the pole while teammate Ryan Briscoe qualified second. They were followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud (in the only Honda-powered car in the Firestone Fast Six). Pagenaud, who changed engines yesterday, was assessed a 10-spot grid penalty for changing engines before the normal rotation of scheduled engine changes so he will start 16th.

That penalty moved everyone from 16th to 10th  up one position.  Rounding out the top 12 are: Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti (defending race winner), Graham Rahal, Conway and Takuma Sato.

"We were disappointed even though it's the best we've qualified in a while, but we missed on the combination for the red tires," said team owner A.J. Foyt. "I still think we'll have a good race and that Mike will run good all day. I'm anxious to see how it all works out because everything is brand new: cars, engines, gearboxes. It should be an interesting race."

The race will be broadcast on ABC-TV starting at 12:30 p.m. ET

Mike Conway Runs in Top 10 in Both St. Petersburg Practice Sessions


St. Petersburg, FL Mar 23, 2012--Mike Conway and the ABC Supply team hit the streets of St. Petersburg today as the season opened for the IZOD IndyCar Series which saw 26 cars on track today.

After the first practice session Conway was eighth in the standings and he was 10th in the afternoon session. His Honda-powered ABC Supply car was the fourth quickest Honda-powered car with Ganassi Racing's Hondas occupying places third through fifth. Dario Franchitti was third quick with a time of 1:02.2232 while Conway's time was 1:02.5337. Will Power, in the Penske Chevrolet, set the pace with a time of 1:02.0077.

“We found quite a good direction on the ABC Supply car towards the end of the last practice session so we definitely improved from this morning," said Conway. "We’ve just got to see what we’ve got tomorrow. All in all, everyone’s working hard and we’re getting there.”

Notes & Quotes: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

•    ABC Supply enters its eighth season as sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s team. In the course of the past seven years, the company has entertained over 35,000 associates and customers at IndyCar Series events. This weekend, the company will have 600 guests at the race on Sunday.

•    Mike Conway on the ‘News’ this year:

New Team: “I’m excited to be working with AJ Foyt Racing. It's a new challenge for everyone in the team, in terms of new people, car and a new season but everyone is working well together. We’re really looking forward to the first race. There are lots of unknowns still but I think we’ll be looking okay.”

New Car: “There’s a lot of different things: engine, gearbox, brakes, different aerodynamic package from what we’ve driven before but I think Dallara’s done a good job with what they’ve produced. There are certain different driving characteristics but we’re still on similar tires so it’s not a whole lot different driving style. There’s definitely more downforce compared to the year before and with the carbon brakes, the car stops pretty well which shortens up the braking zones a little bit. That may make it harder to overtake but I’m not sure it’s enough to be noticeable.”

New Engine: “The new Honda engine’s been pretty good. I think all of the manufacturers are exploring new things so there have been a couple teething problems here and there but all in all, everyone’s working hard to make sure that they’re on top of things. The turbo engine is different from what we’ve had years previous but it’s pretty nice, drivable and pretty smooth. Although it’s my first time driving a turbo, it’s not a whole lot different.”

New Competition: “We have a few new drivers coming to the series this year and they are looking good, especially Rubens Barrichello with all of his experience in Formula 1. I think everyone is excited to get racing with the new guys but at the same time, we have to  worry about all of the competition. At the end of the day, we have to beat the whole grid.”