Following some wrecks in his career on the ovals in IndyCar, Mike Conway stated that he did not want to run full-time in the series as he didn’t want to run the ovals. So when the opportunity came up to drive for Dale Coyne Racing at in Detroit, Conway jumped at the chance.
He made the most of that opportunity as he would take the victory with a commanding lead ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay. His victory in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans marks the second win of his career. His first career victory came at Long Beach in 2011.
“The car has been great all weekend and as the track was rubbering in it was getting better and better,” Conway said. “It was keep pushing and get a gap, and the strategy worked out perfectly at the end. I wanted to stay out and do more laps.”
Conway would make the pass on Hunter-Reay on lap 44, before holding serve throughout the course of green flag pit stops to close out the event.
With three laps to go, Ryan Briscoe did make contact with the tire wall after getting loose and stalled, though officials decided to leave Briscoe’s car there with the corner under a “local caution” instead of bringing out a full course caution to remove his car. Briscoe took over for J.R. Hildebrand, after he was let go from Panther Racing.
Defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay would finish second, following a second place finish in last week’s Indianapolis 500.
Justin Wilson, Conway’s teammate, would finish third to make it two cars on the podium for Dale Coyne Racing.
Scott Dixon would finish fourth after being involved in a first lap caution with A.J. Allmendinger. On the start with the field tightly packed together heading into turn 10, the field began to slow up. Dixon slowed up, but Allmendinger did not. Allmendinger would drive over the back of Dixon’s car, making heavy contact with the turn 10 wall.
“Just a tight start,” Allmendinger said. “Part of a street course, three four wide, guys on either side of me. Just ran over Dixon there, not ready for them to check up. I’m doing everything I can, but sometimes that is not enough. It’s my fault. I feel bad for doing this in trying to show my appreciation to them. My guys are doing more work tonight than they should.”
Allmendinger’s team plans to have his car fixed for tomorrow’s race.
Meanwhile, Dixon’s team made lengthy repairs under a stop and Dixon was able to work his way through the field via strategy and pure driving to finish fourth.
Helio Castroneves would round out the top five to take the points lead, three points ahead of Marco Andretti. Andretti came in as the points leader, but would hit the wall and make contact with Charlie Kimball, resulting in lengthy repairs on pit road under green.
Dario Franchitti finished sixth after struggling last week at Indianapolis. Josef Newgarden finished seventh, followed by Will Power, Graham Rahal and James Jakes.
Rookie Tristan Vautier finished 11th, followed by Simon Pagenaud, Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, Kimball and James Hinchcliffe.
Despite winning two street course races this year, Hinchcliffe struggled throughout the race, before having to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 42 for one of the corner tires being stuck under the car. He collected the tire while trying to make a pass.
Barber Motorsports Park winner Takuma Sato would suffers problems throughout the day, running out of fuel under green early in the race. Officials would toe him to pit road and he would be able to continue. Under that caution, Alex Tagliani made contact with the tires in turn three.
Sebastian Saavedra would lose a tire and gets into the wall after contact with Marco Andretti. He would then proceed to give Saavedra the two-bird salute.
“Just frustrating that Marco keeps making those dirty moves,” Saavedra said. “It’s just unfortunate that he just punched me out of the way like that.”
Conway will try to win the $50,000 bonus for winning both races on a weekend tomorrow. He will start that event from the pole after winning the Verizon Pole Award earlier today.
“This is great to get our first pole,” Dale Coyne, Conway’s car owner, said. “We have had many front-row performances, but I am thankful for Mike bringing us our first pole. Maybe a yellow Sonny’s car is good luck.”
Jakes would qualify second, followed by Conway’s teammate Wilson in third.