Last weekend in Toronto, Mike Conway survived the craziness on the last lap to come home with a third place finish. It marked his best finish of the season and the team’s best finish in Toronto. It was also the first podium for the team since the first race of the season at Brazil.
“It was a good day,” he says. “We started kind of hanging in there. I could see the other guys were going off around me. Kind of hung in there, was picking off people. The car was really strong down into turn three. I could pretty much pass everybody without using the ‘push to pass’ too much. The car felt good.”
Conway had his work cut out for him as he got caught with the pace car coming out right at the end of his stint, putting him in the back of the running order.
“I knew if we kept doing what we were doing, we would be able to work our way back up to the front,” he says.
Conway would be able to move up through the field late in the race after Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden came together racing for third, bringing out the caution with five to go. Then on the restart, contact between Sebastian Bourdais, Charlie Kimball and Conway would see Kimball get through for second and Conway for third while Bourdais would go around, bringing out the caution. The result would be the race ending under yellow.
“I was trying to back out of it as much as I could,” Conway says. “I just touched his rear wheel. That kind of sent him a little bit sideways. Got through the corner. Yeah, I couldn’t quite see, that’s why he was moving over on the inside.”
With the race ending under yellow, Conway does say that he would’ve liked to have more laps to be able to make some more late passes at the end of the race. Though when asked if IndyCar should adapt the NASCAR rule of doing a green-white-checkered, he says that’s a tricky situation.
“I think that’s just going to cause more crashes and more expense for everybody if you did it like that,” he says. “It’s pretty tricky to do all that. With the amount of marbles we had, we would have had to swept for another four or five laps. It wouldn’t have been good.”
Conway adds that he’d like to see it finish under green for the fans, but knows with the restarts they lead to accidents and they don’t need that. Another option would have been to red flag the race and bring everybody down pit road, properly clean the track and clear everybody off, but Conway says that option isn’t worth it just for a lap of racing.
“If we’d have finished under green obviously the fans would be happier, but I think they’ve had a pretty good day,” Conway finishes off. “It was great to see all the fans out today. I think there was lots of action all the way through the race. I don’t know. It’s a hard one.”
While it marks the first podium since the beginning of the year, car owner A.J. Foyt was not in victory lane as he said he wouldn’t go to victory lane unless Conway won.
“That just makes me want to win even more,” Conway says. “I mean, this podium is for A.J. today. Happy to get this result. Obviously we want to win and he does as well. I’ve enjoyed my time. He’s a great guy. Obviously he wants to win so he’s very passionate and wants the best out of everybody.”