Conway charges to first Indy win

Mike Conway claimed his first IndyCar Series race victory with a late charge in Long Beach, despite tumbling down the order with a messy first pitstop

Conway charges to first Indy win

Long-time leader Ryan Briscoe and reigning champion Dario Franchitti had to settle for second and third, ahead of star rookie James Hinchcliffe, while Will Power was only 10th after a tangle with Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves.

Andretti Autosport driver Conway had run third behind Power and fellow Andretti man Ryan Hunter-Reay in the opening laps, but dropped back mid-race when he overshot his markers on his first pitstop.

It had looked like this would be Briscoe's race for much of the afternoon. The Penske driver had jumped from his early 12th place to the lead thanks to having made his first pitstop just before the first caution of the race came out, and was then able to edge away from second-placed Hunter-Reay, who had jumped Power on the restart.

Briscoe was still ahead after the final stops, which took place under a yellow caused by a problem on Justin Wilson's car pitching the Dreyer & Reinbold driver - who had earlier been punted down the order by Castroneves - into the tyres.

At the restart following this incident, Power challenged Hunter-Reay for second, only for his following Penske team-mate Castroneves to slide into the back of him at Turn 1, sending both spinning. Chain reaction incidents behind saw Oriol Servia (Newman/Haas) taking an escape road detour and Scott Dixon (Ganassi) picking up damage, while further around the lap there were tangles between Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato, and Charlie Kimball and Sebastian Saavedra.

That led to another yellow, with Briscoe leading Hunter-Reay, Franchitti, Alex Tagliani (Sam Schmidt), Hinchcliffe (Newman/Haas) and Conway as the green came out. Conway passed the two Canadians at the restart, picked up another place when Hunter-Reay's car slowed with an apparent gearbox problem, then sliced past Franchitti and Briscoe in quick succession to take the lead.

Once ahead, Conway absolutely stormed away from the field, going on to win by 6s as Briscoe held off Franchitti for second.

Hinchcliffe and Tagliani completed the top five, with Servia quickly rejoining to take sixth ahead of Danica Patrick (Andretti) and KV's Tony Kanaan, who recovered well from going a lap down when he was delayed at his first pitstop.

Foyt's Vitor Meira escaped pitlane contact with Rahal to chase Kanaan and hold off the recovering Power for ninth, with Castroneves 12th behind Raphael Matos (AFS). Another pitlane incident ended Marco Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais' afternoons - the American accepting the blame after accidentally squeezing the Dale Coyne car into the wall.

Paul Tracy was only 16th on his return with Dragon Racing, having been penalised for a collision with HVM's Simona de Silvestro.

Results - 85 laps:

Pos  Driver               Team                    Time/Gap
 1.  Mike Conway          Andretti           1h53m11.1000s
 2.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske                 + 6.3203s
 3.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi                + 6.7163s
 4.  James Hinchcliffe    Newman/Haas            + 9.1705s
 5.  Alex Tagliani        Sam Schmidt           + 16.0177s
 6.  Oriol Servia         Newman/Haas           + 16.8966s
 7.  Danica Patrick       Andretti              + 17.5016s
 8.  Tony Kanaan          KV                    + 18.9655s
 9.  Vitor Meira          Foyt                  + 19.4723s
10.  Will Power           Penske                + 19.8909s
11.  Raphael Matos        AFS                   + 20.4660s
12.  Helio Castroneves    Penske                + 20.7784s
13.  Graham Rahal         Ganassi               + 21.3464s
14.  Sebastian Saavedra   Conquest              + 23.1137s
15.  James Jakes          Dale Coyne            + 24.5926s
16.  Paul Tracy           Dragon              + 1m03.7578s
17.  JR Hildebrand        Panther             + 1m10.9001s
18.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi                  + 1 lap
19.  Ana Beatriz          Dreyer & Reinbold       + 2 laps
20.  Simona de Silvestro  HVM                     + 3 laps
21.  Takuma Sato          KV                      + 4 laps

Retirements:

    Justin Wilson        Dreyer & Reinbold         78 laps
    Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti                  72 laps
    Charlie Kimball      Ganassi                   66 laps
    EJ Viso              KV                        59 laps
    Marco Andretti       Andretti                  37 laps
    Sebastien Bourdais   Dale Coyne                27 laps
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