Sunday, September 26, 2021

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Mike Conway scores victory in Honda Indy Toronto Race 2

For the second time in 2014, Mike Conway would reach victory lane as he scored the victory in the Honda Indy Toronto Race 2 for the Verizon IndyCar Series. It marks the fourth victory of Conway’s career after scoring the victory earlier this year at Long Beach.

“It was really difficult conditions and we were kind of struggling out there for a bit and then I knew as soon as I could see the dry line I knew it was time to come in, and it was a great call,” Conway commented. “And the guys were up for it. I wasn’t sure what they were going to say so from there we just kind of took off and just controlled the race. A bit nervous about the red flag there but I knew with Justin (Wilson) behind me, I knew we would be able to cover it. It was good fun out there.”

The race started under the dry conditions, however quickly turned wet when rain began to fall. Teams would switch to wet tires, till the rain stopped and the track started to dry. As it did, some drivers began changing to slicks and Conway was one of the first drivers, therefore using it to his advantage to gain ground throughout the field, making the pass on Justin Wilson in turn eight before a full course yellow. Conway then held off Tony Kanaan and Will Power on a late race restart with two laps to go.

Tony Kanaan finished second for his best finish of the season, following a third place finish in the morning race as teams were forced to run a pair of races today due to yesterday’s race being rained out as result of visibility issues along the Lakeshore.

“We chose at the beginning of the race to run a rain set-up because we knew the rain was coming,” he explained. “So on the last restart I knew that I was a little bit of a sitting duck. I have to thank Target and Chevy. I think it was 1-2-3 for Chevy again, I am not sure who finished third. Its been a great weekend and I made a really bad mistake and I got too excited at the start of the race. One of my typical starts, I made a mistake and I had to catch up. I didn’t want to come back and look at Chip and I hate when I make mistakes. So we made it up, the team did a great job on the stops.”

Will Power would finish third to gain some points in the championship in trying to catch his teammate Helio Castroneves.

“Tony was very good on the half-wet track and I just wasn’t really willing after yesterday to take a big risk and get caught up again,” Power commented. “So I still had to battle hard with Charlie all over me. It was a good day for the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team, typical IndyCar race where they throw everything at you. You just have to survive, and that is what we did.”

Charlie Kimball and Takuma Sato would round out the top five. Rookie Jack Hawksworth finished sixth, followed by Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Justin Wilson.

With the conditions being a mix of wet and dry throughout the 65 lap race, there would be a total of seven full course yellows. The standing start at the beginning of the race wouldn’t go smoothly as Justin Wilson stalled on the frontstretch, while Kanaan would stop on course after sliding through turn three.

Hometown hero James Hinchcliffe got caught up in the second caution at lap 12 in turn eight as he clipped Juan Pablo Montoya after Montoya got into the turn eight tires. Mikhail Aleshin would be left with no where to go, making contact with Montoya and getting stuck on Montoya’s car as Montoya was nosed in the tire barrier. Everybody was sliding at the time due to simply the track being wet and still on slick tires.

“I realized that only when I started to brake in Turn 8 and I just smacked the car and ended up under the car and that was not such a great feeling at all,” Aleshin commented. “So I’m sorry for my spectators and all the guys who support me but that’s life and the most important thing is everything is fine and I was not hurt.”

There’d be another caution only four laps later as a result of debris scattered among the course due to contact from drivers slipping in the wet conditions. Luca Filippi would not have luck in the rain, either, getting into the tires in turn eight for the fourth caution at lap 33.  Sebastian Saavedra was also a victim of wet conditions, sliding into the tire barrier in turn three. The final caution came at lap 51 for a multi-car wreck in turn three involving Ryan Briscoe, Carlos Huertas, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz.

Unfortunately, Simon Pagenaud would have mechanical issues that took him out of the running after leading the final practice on Friday.

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