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Conway hopes first win just the start

Mike Conway talks about his stunning win at Long Beach, his return from serious injury, and his plans for the upcoming races at Brazil and the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Mike Conway became the IZOD IndyCar's first maiden winner of a race in almost three years when he emerged victorious from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, marking a triumphant return from serious injury at last year's Indianapolis 500.

This week's win places him firmly among the top drivers in IndyCar and means he's unquestionably "arrived" in US open-wheel racing. As well as being fifth in the current championship points standings, he's enjoying the attention and the publicity that his win has got him.

"When I landed on Tuesday morning back in the UK, that's when everything was being put in the papers after the race," he said on a teleconference on Wednesday, having flown home after the Long Beach win to spend Easter in England with his family. "Some great coverage in the big national papers here. It's been really good. Been busy all day doing phone interviews, got some TV stuff lined up. It's been great. Lots of coverage."

Conway says he still finds it hard to understand or explain why his pace at that crucial final restart was so much better than everyone else around him. "I probably don't have a real answer for you.

"[The] car just felt good. Once I got past [Ryan Briscoe], I knew we had the pace to pull away. I don't know, just head down and just pushed for kind of a good eight to ten laps," he said. "I was surprised to see how quickly I pulled away initially, two or three seconds in two or three laps ... I really did focus on the restarts, keeping the tires warm. The last thing you want to do is pick up all the debris, marbles on the track. The warmer you can get the tires, the better. It just makes the restarts better. Maybe that was just enough to really make some good moves."

The win is still sinking in. "It was awesome when I was on the podium to look down and see all the winning names imprinted on the floor, seeing Mario and Michael [Andretti] on there, Al Unser, Jr. These are the guys I get to see every race weekend. It's great that my name will be on there now and be part of a great race. Got some serious history to it!"

Conway was happy to admit that having the experience of the Andrettis at Long Beach had definitely helped him with his performance. "Michael being a very experienced driver, Mario also who was at St. Pete, Marco, the great history between the three of them. Yeah, I mean, it's great to learn from them guys.

"I didn't actually ask him before Long Beach coming into it because I knew that the car would be good there because Ryan was quick the year before," he said. "Michael lets us sort of get on with our own kind of thing. When he feels that we need some direction or some help, he always gives us his point of view. That's always very helpful."

Both the driver and the team were hopeful that the new pairing would prove mutually successful, but Conway was frank in admitting that "I think [hoping for a win] three races in would have been maybe a bit much."




Related Pictures

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Photo by Dan Helrigel - IndyCar Media - The winner of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Andretti Autosports` Mike Conway.
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to an 11th-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Montoya retains the overall driver`s championship points lead with two races left in the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to an fourth-place finish Sunday, August 2, 2015, during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Marco Andretti, and Graham Rahal barrel into Turn 1 during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut - KVSH Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July12, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series race at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Matt Brabham tests with Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway
Matt Brabham tests with Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway
Matt Brabham tests with Andretti Autosport at Iowa Speedway
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads the field down the frontstretch during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Degree Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, raced to a sixth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sage Karam, driver of the #8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to a fifth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to a fourth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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