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Conway dominates first double-header race in Detroit

Despite being a last-minute addition to the line-up this week, Mike Conway had been looking strong in Detroit: but even so, no one expected him to clinch quite such a dominant victory.
Just a few days ago, no one knew who would be driving the #18 Dale Coyne Racing car at Detroit this weekend. When the name of Mike Conway was announced it was warmly greeted as a sensible decision, a chance to get a decent midfield result and some solid points from this weekend's double-header races. But no one quite expected the 29-year-old from Kent to show up and steal the show outright with a dominant, foot-perfect display of street course driving.

With pole winner Dario Franchitti dropping back to 11th place on the grid for the start of the race with an engine change penalty, it was EJ Viso on pole alongside Conway who led the field to the green flag at Belle Isle to start the first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.

Conway immediately managed to steal the lead from Viso, and before the Venezuelan could respond the race was under an immediate caution for AJ Allmendinger getting into the back of Scott Dixon: despite the controversial 'wheel guards' on the new Dallara DW12 chassis, Allmendinger's car was thrown up over the rear of the #9 as the wheels made contact and fused. Allmendinger was out on the spot and Dixon luck to be merely among the walking wounded.

Conway kept the lead at the restart but Viso fell back with a lack of power, allowing Ryan Hunter-Reay up to second ahead of Alex Tagliani and Will Power making an early declaration of intent by jumping up five spots to fourth place in a single lap and Dario Franchitti following through into fifth place behind him.

Conway surrendered the lead to Hunter-Reay for his fist pit stop on lap 24, just before Tagliani went into the run-off at turn 3 which promoted Power and Franchitti a further position apiece. A yellow quickly followed when Takuma Sato also came to a stop out on the track having run out of fuel, which allowed Hunter-Reay to take the advantage, pit and come out ahead of Conway while retaining the lead at the green flag, with Power and Franchitti running behind them ahead of Helio Castroneves and Justin Wilson.

The caution dragged on with Tagliani once again tangling with the tyre barrier at turn 3 before the green came out on lap 31; Franchitti got the best restart and jumped Power for third while James Jakes ran on at turn 3 and lost track position. The next driver in trouble was Sebastian Saavedra who made contact with the wall in turn 5 after clashing with Marco Andretti. Saavedra wasn't happy with Andretti and expressed himself in the Will Power-patented double-bird manoeuvre particularly apposite for a double-header. At the same time, Franchitti hit one of the tyres marking a don't-cut apex which sent the tyre flying across the track, forcing a new full-course caution for a sizeable circular piece of 'debris'.

After a protracted yellow, racing resumed on lap 39 with Franchitti and Castroneves both losing out and falling back to sixth place as Power, Kanaan and Wilson all got passed them, with Franchitti's own team mate Scott Dixon pushing the Scot down a further spot to seventh place shortly afterwards. Up ahead, Mike Conway got the better of Hunter-Reay who was struggling on the short-lived red option tyres to retake the lead again and going some two seconds a lap slower than Conway on the black primes.

Conway came in for his final stop on lap 53 leaving him 17 laps to run on the reds, regaining the lead when his team mate Wilson pitted from the front on lap 56. Conway was helped in his endeavours by Hunter-Reay being held up behind Tristan Vautier, who was running in second prior to making his own final pit stop, which meant that Conway held an effective 18 second lead at the front to cushion his final stint on the reds.

The only danger for Conway was a late caution: a problem for James Hinchcliffe which saw a tyre lodged underneath the #27 threatened such an intervention but Hinchliffe made it back to pit lane without a caution being required. Even so, a single-lap loss of three seconds from his lead with five laps still remaining meant that the win was anything-but certain




Related Pictures

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Mike Conway takes an early lead in race 1 of the Detroit double-header - Saturday, June 1 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Mike Conway takes an early lead in race 1 of the Detroit double-header - Saturday, June 1 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Mike Conway wins race 1 of the Detroit double-header - Saturday, June 1 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway, Dale Coyne and Justin Wilson on the podium after Conway`s win in race 1 of the Detroit double-header - Saturday, June 1 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, his fourth series championship of his career. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon - 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion - Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates with team mates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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