Race Report Honda Indy Toronto

Race Report: Honda Indy Toronto

TORONTO July 8, 2012—Driving the ABC Supply Dallara/Honda, Mike Conway  sliced his way through the IZOD IndyCar Series field twice to finish third in the Honda Indy Toronto.

There were hints throughout this season about the young Brit’s magic with the No. 14 car, but it wasn’t until today that driver and team combined to stage their best performance on the track and in the pits.

“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.”

Conway, who qualified in the Firestone Fast Six in his two previous starts at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, didn’t make it past the first round of qualifying Saturday and he was annoyed with himself for the shortfall. Ironically, despite the great starts, he hadn’t finished a race in Toronto until today.

Conway’s 13th place qualifying effort was only one place shy of the Foyt team’s best start in four attempts (12th with Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2009), although they did finish in the top 11 in their past three races, including fifth place in 2011. However, the podium finish was the best ever showing here for team and driver.

“It’s good to finally get a podium for everyone involved,” Team Director Larry Foyt said. “Everybody’s been working so hard this year and we’ve been fast many times but we haven’t gotten a lot to show for it. We had a little setback with that untimely yellow but we fought back and Mike drove a great race. So for the team, for Mike, and for ABC Supply, it’s great to finally realize the potential that I knew was there.  Hopefully this will give us some momentum to finish strong in these final five races.”

Qualifying Report – Honda Indy Toronto

TORONTO, Canada July 7, 2012—Mike Conway qualified the ABC Supply Honda in the 13th slot Saturday afternoon for the Honda Indy Toronto on the 1.75-mile street circuit at Exhibition Place. However, because of 10-spot grid penalties incurred by sixth and ninth place qualifiers Alex Tagliani and James Hinchcliffe respectively, Conway will start 11th.

Dario Franchitti won the pole with a speed 106.4 mph.  Starting second through fifth are: Will Power, Justin Wilson, Sebastian Bourdais and Scott Dixon.

Conway, who turned a lap speed of 105.1mph around the 11-turn circuit, barely missed advancing to the second round of qualifying as he was just 11 hundredths of a second behind Sebastian Bourdais.

“We didn’t quite get the ultimate lap I wanted,” a dejected Conway said after qualifying. “We could have gone much quicker than 59.9 and could have advanced. Disappointed that we didn’t—annoyed with myself really. We could have had time to work on the car between Q-1 and Q-2 and disappointed we didn’t do that but it is what it is. We have to work on what we can overnight and in the morning to get the ABC Supply car good for the race. We’ve got to finish and finish well.”

Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy Toronto

Mike Conway on racing in Toronto: “The track is fairly small so straight-line speed is not really a big thing there. I know you’ve got two long straights but the main thing is getting the car quick through the corners. Turn 1 is really important because it leads onto the longest straight all the way down to the tight twisty section which is pretty much the whole circuit through the back. You’ve got to get the car to ride well over the bumps, and you’ve got to have a good car there. You’re really hanging it out on qualifying laps, really close to the wall everywhere, and there are so many bumps that it’s hard to get it right every time. It’s always a constant challenge but it’s a lot of fun.”

Conway on the city of Toronto: “I always like it when there are races in a city—all the street courses are pretty cool. Building a track in the middle of a city always gets lots of fans because it’s right there and I think it makes for good racing. I really like Toronto. It’s multicultural so there are different areas of the town to go to and actually it’s one of my favorite places that we visit.”

Conway on Push-to-Pass: “I think it’s good—it creates overtaking opportunities where before you might not have been able to pass. I think the races have been good this year anyway but it definitely makes it more exciting, more watchable with more passing going on. The only thing you worry about is if it is going to cause more engine issues.”

Conway on his past performance in Toronto: “Last year was disappointing because we were running in the top 4 all day, looking after our tires and saving fuel on the first stint. Then we got shuffled back because of when Dario pitted (earlier) and then we waited it out too long-- me and Will Power were in mid-pack. That was one part of it. Then we were fighting our way back through and then I had contact with Briscoe as I was getting back though the field, then I got a drive-through penalty for that. So then I was way at the end of the pack again. On the restarts it was getting pretty messy. Two cars spun out in front of me and I just had nowhere to go so I stopped but I rode over one of the rear wheels, it damaged the suspension and that was the end of the day. Pretty gut-wrenching really. In 2009, Things were going okay,  we were running sixth and Paul Tracy and I were battling it out. Coming out of the corner I got a little bit loose and kissed the wall. That was then of my day. Tough little track. If you hang in there all day—and you’re quick--you’ll get a good result. You’ve got to be patient.”

Past performance in Toronto: Conway has qualified for the Firestone Fast Six in both of his starts: (6th in 2009 and 4th in 2011) and he is looking forward to his first finish in the race. The Foyt team’s record shows better finishes than starts: in 2009, Ryan Hunter-Reay started 12th, finished 7th; in 2010, Vitor Meira started 26th, finished 11th and in 2011, Meira started 14th and finished 5th.