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Short-lived return for speedy Conway

It was a short-lived return to competition indeed for Mike Conway in Sunday's 2011 IndyCar Series curtain-raiser at St. Petersburg - but the Andretti Autosport star vows to come out fighting in Alabama in a fortnight's time
Mike Conway cut a frustrated figure after his IndyCar Series return was ended by a first lap shunt in Sunday's season-opener in St. Petersburg.

After ten months on the sidelines following his horrific 220mph Indianapolis 500 accident last year, the Andretti Autosport driver was eager to race and seemed to be in contention for a podium before disaster struck as early as the opening lap.

Despite only returning to the cockpit earlier this month, the 27-year-old turned heads by finishing inside the top five in all practice and qualifying sessions at the Florida circuit. Starting from fourth on the grid, it appeared a podium finish was a realistic target.

However, his first race since the Indy 500 crash lasted less than a minute after Conway became a victim of a multiple car pile-up at the first corner. An ambitious move by Helio Castroneves pitched team-mate Marco Andretti into a roll, and his car tagged Conway, damaging the rear suspension and forcing him into retirement. Penske's Ryan Briscoe and Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon were similarly caught up in the incident.

“It's hugely disappointing to be taken out of the race at the first corner through no fault of my own,” lamented the aggrieved British star. “We had been strong all weekend and there was a real chance of victory, which makes the situation even more frustrating.


“All we can do now is take the positives from the weekend – our competitive pace and the fantastic work that all the guys have done at Andretti Autosport – and look ahead to the race in two weeks' time.”

The IndyCar Series continues with a trip to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on 10 April.

by Tom Howard



Related Pictures

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Mike Conway, Andretti Autosport, 2011 IndyCar Series
Mike Conway, Andretti Autosport, 2011 IndyCar Series
Mike Conway, Andretti Autosport, St. Petersburg, 2011
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates winning the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg with third-place finisher Tony Kanaan (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates winning the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Start of the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6; and Tony Kanaan (right), driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6; celebrate with Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who raced to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power finished second. Kanaan finished third. Chevrolet took the top six places in the first race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher)
Juan Pablo Montoya enters Turn 3 during the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power clash in the closing laps of the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal waits on pit lane prior to practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal apexes Turn 1 during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Don - Unregistered

March 30, 2011 2:57 PM

I've been very impressed with Mikes practice and qualifying performance this year. Way beyond my expectations. He had very bad luck on the opening corner at St. Pete. Good luck at Barber.



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