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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
Franck Montagny on the course at Infineon Raceway for practice in Sonoma. (Photo by: Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media)
Franck Montagny is making his IndyCar Series debut. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Franck Montagny is making his IndyCar Series debut. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin waits on pitlane prior to practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz waits on pit lane in Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The crew of Mikhail Aleshin go to work in the pits (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power and Carlos Munoz flank winner Mike Conway during their victory lap (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Huertas (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth enters the hairpin during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Huertas waits on pitlane prior to the start (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz with a champagne surprise (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrating his victory (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (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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