IndyCar » 28 May 2012
Indy 500: Conway among early retirements
Mike Conway's crash on lap 78 of the Indianapolis 500 was the biggest and scariest of the race, but the British driver walked away unscathed.
In his first Indianapolis 500 run since his massive accident in 2010 that put him out of motor racing for the rest of the year, Mike Conway found himself once again not quite the right way up on Sunday - and perilously close to the catchfence that had done for his car two years ago.
Fortunately on this occasion the upturned #14 AJ Foyt Racing car managed to ride the top edge of the concrete wall before falling back right-side-up onto the track with no further harm done. The accident had started with damage to his front wing in a pit road incident that ended up sending him into the wall on lap 78, collecting Will Power on the process.
"My mistake coming into the pits," admitted Conway. "Came in a bit too hard and collected some of my guys, and that screwed up the front wing and we didn't realise it till I got out.
"Through turns 3 and 4 it felt a little wiggly, and I thought it was just tyre temperatures," he explained. "But down the front straight when I went down into turn 1, I could see one of the endplates sticking up in the air. I knew it wouldn't be right turning in, so I tried to back out just going in.
"I knew Will was close behind me so I didn't want to back out too much, and the car got very loose, which I was able to correct it once. But it broke loose again, and I couldn't catch it the second time and then I was just a passenger onboard. I'm very sorry for my guys; I'm glad that they are okay."
Will Power was distinctly unimpressed at being the victim of someone else's accident when he'd been minding his own business all day.
"[Conway] said the team sent him out with a broken wing. I don't understand why they would do that," he said. "I'm fine, but I'm just disappointed for the Verizon guys. All the work they put in this month, and to be just taken out that. Obviously, both of us are okay. We'll move on."
Conway and Power were just two of the 11 retirements during the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500, which began with Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro being black-flagged for not keeping up to sufficient speed, and ended with Takuma Sato crashing out at the start of the final lap while battling race winner Dario Franchitti for the lead.
Wade Cunningham retired on lap 42 after being beset with electrical problems from early in the race: "At about 30 laps, the motor started winding down, and I could no longer run sixth gear," he said. We made our first pit stop early, which indicated we had a problem in the engine. The engine never really ran after that ... The engine wouldn't go over 11,000 rpm, so rather than get in the way and potentially ruin someone else's race, we pulled it back here to the garage."
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