Skip to content

Mike Conway pulls the IndyCar upset in Long Beach (VIDEO)

Apr 13, 2014, 6:54 PM EDT

Ed Carpenter wanted his Verizon IndyCar Series team to contend everywhere besides ovals. So, over the off-season, he went to ovals-only duty as a driver and brought in Mike Conway to race his car on the road and street courses.

It took just two events for the decision to pay off.

After a major multi-car incident on Lap 54 effectively reset the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Scott Dixon emerged as the leader but still had to try and stretch out his fuel to the finish with Conway and the rest of the field chasing after him.

As Conway increased his pressure, a radio transmission from Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing team disclosed that the defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion would be half a lap short on fuel.

Instead, Dixon came to the pits with two laps remaining, and Conway did the rest by holding back Will Power to claim his second career win at the Beach.

And after being considered an afterthought on the twisty tracks despite its namesake’s recent improvement in road racing acumen, Ed Carpenter Racing has its first victory on a street course.

“I can’t believe it, I can’t believe I’m actually here,” said Conway, who’s primarily a quiet guy but actually sounded somewhere close to shock in Victory Lane.

“Just an awesome job by the team. We weren’t sure what we had, but we hung in there all the way to the end and it just seemed to come to us…I can’t believe it – two times a Long Beach winner. Unbelievable.”

Conway was one of multiple drivers that was forced to work his way around the aforementioned crash, which started when pole sitter Ryan Hunter-Reay went to the inside of Josef Newgarden after the latter had just emerged with the lead following a pit stop.

Going into Turn 4, Hunter-Reay made contact with Newgarden and both of them went into the wall. By the time the melee was over, James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato, and Tony Kanaan had also been collected and eliminated from the race.

Conway credited team member Lee Bentham for helping him navigate through the chaos to ensure he’d have a shot at the win.

“Luckily, he told me to stay right [over the radio] and I stayed right through the corner,” he added to NBCSN. “I saw the two on the left and then another two came together and speared right, so I managed to get in between and that was it.”

The race restarted with 16 laps to go and Conway was in fourth behind leader Dixon, Justin Wilson and Power. But off the restart, Dixon and Wilson came together going into Turn 8, and the latter went into the runoff with terminal damage.

Another caution brought about what would be the final restart of the race with 10 to go, and this time, Conway was on the rear wing of Dixon, who had emerged unscathed from the run-in with Wilson.

Dixon, known as perhaps the best fuel conservation man in all of IndyCar, had last pitted on Lap 44 and was trying desperately to not only save fuel but keep Conway in his rear view mirror.

Unfortunately for him, it was not to be.

“We were only about half a lap short, but the last thing I wanted to do was run out of gas in front of the whole field and cause a big accident,” Dixon said.

The New Zealander was also remorseful for the contact with Wilson, whom he wasn’t expecting to be on the outside of him.

“You’re looking to the right [at Turn 8] and I obviously got into him,” he said. “I felt a little tap there but I apologize to him and his whole team.”

Power’s run to second wasn’t a clean one either, as he made contact with Simon Pagenaud going into Turn 6 and sent him into the tires there on a Lap 32 restart.

Afterwards, the IndyCar points leader admitted he was surprised that he didn’t get a penalty for the contact and apologized to Pagenaud, who recovered to finish fifth.

However, the Frenchman’s in-car camera spotted him wagging a finger at the Australian on the cool-down lap – and he indicated that he wasn’t in the mood to accept Power’s mea culpa either.

“Did I want to hear his apology? I thought it was a little late for that,” he said.

With Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe sidelined after the big crash, Carlos Munoz picked up the Andretti Autosport banner and took it to the podium with a third-place finish in his Long Beach debut.

“My teammates had some bad luck, but it’s racing – it’s happened to me a long time ago,” Munoz said. “But I’m really happy for the third place. Those were some great last laps…I have to thank my crew, who did an awesome job on pit stops.”

Also doing well was Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished fourth and came away with the first Top-5 finish in his return to open-wheel racing after a seven-year run in NASCAR.

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Unofficial Results
1. 20-Mike Conway
2. 12-Will Power
3. 34-Carlos Munoz (rookie)
4. 2- Juan Pablo Montoya
5. 77-Simon Pagenaud
6. 7-Mikhail Aleshin (rookie)
7. 16-Oriol Servia
8. 25-Marco Andretti
9. 17-Sebastian Saavedra
10. 18-Carlos Huertas (rookie)
11. 3-Helio Castroneves
12. 9-Scott Dixon
ONE LAP DOWN
13. 15-Graham Rahal
THREE LAPS DOWN
14. 11-Sebastien Bourdais
15. 98-Jack Hawksworth (rookie)

16. 19-Justin Wilson, Lap 64, Contact
17. 8-Ryan Briscoe, Lap 60, Running
18. 10-Tony Kanaan, Lap 55, Contact
19. 67-Josef Newgarden, Lap 55, Contact
20. 28-Ryan Hunter-Reay, Lap 55, Contact
21. 27-James Hinchcliffe, Lap 55, Contact
22. 14-Takuma Sato, Lap 55, Contact
23. 83-Charlie Kimball, Lap 41, Off-Course

Latest Posts
  1. Power on pole in Penske top-four sweep of St. Petersburg qualifying

    Mar 28, 2015, 5:24 PM EDT

    PowerSTPpole AP

    Power on pole as Team Penske goes 1-2-3-4 in St. Petersburg qualifying.

  2. Indy Lights: Carlin’s Ed Jones on top in opening race at St. Pete

    Mar 28, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    Indy Lights’ new era kicks off at St. Petersburg with a new driver and team on top in the series’ new car.

  3. Power on top as Penske 1-2-3 in second straight St. Pete practice

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT

    WPstpP3 AP

    More Will Power on top of IndyCar practice at St. Petersburg.

  4. Franck Montagny receives two-year ban from FIA after positive drug test

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:01 PM EDT

    Montagnynew Getty Images

    Franck Montagny receives two-year ban from FIA’s Anti-Doping Disciplinary Committee.

  5. Ericsson storms to career-best qualifying in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Marcus Ericsson AP

    Swedish driver reaches both Q2 and Q3 for the first time in his F1 career, and will start tomorrow’s race from ninth place on the grid.

  6. Wet qualifying benefits Red Bull, hinders Williams, on Saturday in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ricciardo and Kvyat both get inside the top five thanks to the rain in Q3 in Malaysia, but Massa and Bottas struggle.

  7. Monaco’s Formula E track layout is revealed

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Qualifying Getty Images

    Monaco’s circuit for the FIA Formula E Championship is revealed.

  8. Grosjean hit with grid penalty after queue jumping

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Lotus driver drops two places on the starting grid after failing to keep his place in the pit lane.

  9. One spectator killed, others injured, at VLN Endurance event in Germany

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    © VLN - the start of a 2014 race at the Nurburgring © VLN - the start of a 2014 race at the Nurburgring

    Incident involving Jann Mardenborough’s Nissan GT-R claims the life of one spectator at the Nordschleife.

  10. Verstappen flourishes in the wet to qualify sixth in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Dutch youngster scores the best F1 qualifying result for a teenager in 54 years on Saturday in Malaysia.

  11. Alonso: Q1 exit not a sign of things to come for McLaren

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Alonso 283 Getty Images

    Spanish driver will make his second debut for McLaren from 18th position on the grid tomorrow.

  12. Hamilton delighted after claiming 40th career pole (VIDEO)

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    British driver explains the challenge of judging your qualifying lap in the wet after securing pole position in Malaysia on Saturday.

  13. Manor receives dispensation to race in Malaysia despite missing 107% time in qualifying

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:49 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Merhi and Stevens miss the 107% time required to qualify in Malaysia, but are granted dispensation by the FIA stewards.

  14. Vettel hoping for more rain on Sunday after scoring Ferrari’s first front-row start in two years (VIDEO)

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:30 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    Felipe Massa was the last driver to start on the front row of the grid for Ferrari, lining up second for the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.

  15. Rosberg annoyed to qualify third for Malaysian GP

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:10 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    German driver cannot improve with his final lap in Q3, leaving him third on the grid behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

  16. Hamilton tames wet conditions to grab pole in Malaysia

    Mar 28, 2015, 6:36 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Defending world champion manages to fight through the spray to secure pole position ahead of Vettel and Rosberg.

  17. WATCH LIVE: Malaysian GP qualifying at 5a ET on NBCSN and Live Extra

    Mar 28, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Practice Getty Images

    Could a thunderstorm rain on Mercedes parade? Join us for qualifying from 5a ET today.

  18. Rosberg closes out Malaysian GP practice fastest

    Mar 28, 2015, 3:06 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    German driver edges out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in final practice at Sepang.

  19. WATCH LIVE: Malaysian GP FP3 at 2a ET on Live Extra

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:30 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1 Getty Images

    FP3 for the Malaysian Grand Prix rolls off at 2 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

  20. NHRA: Rain washes out Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying four 4-Wide Nationals

    Mar 27, 2015, 7:08 PM EDT

    nhra four-wide nationals

    Rain washed out Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying for this weekend’s 6th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.