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Indy 500: Conway among early retirements

"It's heartbreaking," admitted the Kiwi racer. "I've worked seven months to put this together to find the sponsorship to make a contract with Larry [Foyt] that would work for everyone."

Bryan Clauson was next out on lap 46, having earlier spun in turn 2 to bring out the first caution of the afternoon on lap 14. "It wasn't good," Clauson said of the car after that first early mishap. "We were struggling with the handling and not getting any speed out of it."

Ryan Hunter-Reay ran strongly early in the race, but once past the mid-point of the event his car suddenly experienced a suspension failure at the right rear of the car on lap 123: "We had a good car. We were just taking our time, saving fuel. We were behind the Ganassi cars and ready to do battle later on," he said. "We had a really bad vibration with one of the tires earlier. And then, something happened with the CV joint on the back. It came off. All the grease came out. We're lucky we didn't crash."

Sebastian Saavedra was also disappointed to be out of the race 20 laps later. "We were running a pretty strong race, we had an amazing car. We made very little adjustments in the early stops," he said. "From then on, we tried to push leaders. We got a drive-through penalty [for speeding during the first round of pit stops] and tried to stay positive. It was an amazing job by the AFS crew, but in the end we had a mechanical failure. We tried to fix it, but we couldn't find the problem. So we called it a day."

Josef Newgarden's day was also beset by ongoing technical gremlins, and the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing rookie who had been such a standout performer in practice for the Indy 500 and who had been the highest-placed Honda-powered runner on the starting grid ended up pulling over onto the infield grass on lap 161.

"We were struggling from the start," he admitted. "We had a couple of issues trying to get gears in the pits, which put us back in a bad position. We kept fighting, though. We did a great job of staying in the hunt. We got really lucky when we got our lap back. We just kept pounding on the laps and finally got it back. Then it seems like we lost a bank [of engine cylinders.]"

Marco Andretti had the distinction of leading the most laps of the race - 59 of the 200 - but it all came to nought when he lost the handling of the #26 Andretti Autosport car on lap 187 and headed into the wall in a hard side-on impact just 13 laps from the finish. Andretti was distinctly unhappy with Oriol Servia, who he felt had pinched him down too low and left him on the white line and the grass verge that had caused the loss of handling.

"Servia decided to run two-wide at Indianapolis for two consecutive laps and makes me turn in from the white line," he complained. "I had no hope of making that corner because not only am I turning in from the white line, he just crossed my bow, so I was completely out of it. Nothing I can do.

"I'm disappointed, it definitely rang my bell," he admitted. Although unhurt, he'd had the air knocked out of him and looked slightly stunned when he eventually climbed out. When the team had radioed him to check he was okay, it was all he could do to gasp back: "Gimmie a minute."

Unfortunately it was just one more case of the Andretti curse making itself known, with Indianapolis Motor Speedway once more unwilling to succumb to the charms of one of America's premier motor racing families for at least another year.




Related Pictures

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Mike Conway personifies the gloomy spirit in the Andretti Autosport camp on Pole Day for the 2011 Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 21. [Picture credit: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media]
Andretti Autosport driver Mike Conway. [Photo Credit: IndyCar Media]
Will Power #12 Verizon Team Penske during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 Dan R. Boyd LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Marco Andretti. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt, LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Marco Andretti #26 Team RC Cola Andretti Autosport during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 Dan R. Boyd, LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Wade Cunningham in Mike Conway`s #14 car during rookie orientation for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 10 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams.LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
A special message for James Hinchcliffe during the Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates with team owner Roger Penske after winning the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Accident for Sage Karam on the first lap of the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Mike Young for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia accident during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Mike Young for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson at the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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