By A.J. Foyt
The Go-Pro Indy Grand Prix at Sonoma race weekend was one of the more frustrating ones of the season for my ABC Supply team.
The team had tested at Sonoma Raceway the week before and while the test went so-so, the team came away feeling that they had learned some things that would be helpful for the race. Unfortunately, we really struggled trying to find the setup that would work the tires—the car was lacking traction. Mike Conway couldn’t put the power down as quick as he needed to.
We did improve the ABC Supply car for qualifying—he qualified 16th which was a lot better than 24th in practice. He started 14th due to a couple teams getting grid penalties for unapproved engine changes. After the race morning warm-up we were second quick which pumped everyone up. He ran a couple laps on the softer compound tire (several teams did) which helped us find some speed.
The weather was beautiful for the race, probably the nicest weather we’ve had at that track. There were 27 cars which was the largest field since the Indy 500, so Mike was starting mid-pack.
You know how it is when you come up to a toll booth and you pick the lane where the guy ahead drops his money or his EZ-Pass doesn’t work and you think to yourself, why didn’t I go in the other lane?
That’s how it felt on the starts and restarts in this race -- it didn’t matter which way Mike went, something happened in front of him and he lost positions where he normally gains. Whether it was the first lap incident when Helio Castroneves punted Ryan Hunter-Reay which forced Mike to go wide and lose three spots in the scramble or on the lap 77 restart when Sebastian Saavedra, directly ahead of Mike, missed a shift and cars vaulted past them both, Mike couldn’t catch a break.