Saturday, 1 June 2013

Conway dominates on IndyCar return - Dual In Detroit Race 1 Review

Mike Conway won the first Dual in Detroit race after dominating from the start. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished in second place, his second runner up spot in as many races.

Conway rocketed away from second place to take the lead at the start. The drivers made it through the first part of the lap with no drama. This was not to last though as Allmendinger made contact with Scott Dixon a he went to pass on the inside of at turn turn 10, spinning into a wall destroying the rear of the car.

Conway again took off as the race resumed on lap 5, the Brit making his return to the series since Baltimore last year. Pole sitter EJ Viso started to fall down the order and two laps later, he complained of boost issues as he continued to fall back, with Dario Franchitti (who qualified on pole but had to serve a 10-place engine change penalty) passing him for fourth. By lap 10 the Venezuelan was down in twelfth, continuing to fall as he struggled for power on the straights.

By lap 20 Conway started to approach lapped traffic, with Charlie Kimball being the first to go a lap down on lap 21. The traffic caused Conway to loose a second to second placed Hunter-Reay, with the reigning champion closing down after previously loosing ground on the leader.

Five laps later Conway made his first pit stop, handing the lead to Hunter-Reay with Alex Tagliani in second. The Canadian dropped positions though as he went off the track, then struggled to get the car spun round and going again. Takuma Sato ran out of fuel and stopped at turn three at almost the same time, bringing out the second caution flag of the day. Tagliani got going with help from the marshals. Sato was towed back to the pits and continued, two laps down, after having his seatbelts adjusted.

The timing of the caution, with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the pits at the time allowed the Andretti driver to keep the lead. Conway had lost very little ground with his pitstop and was second place behing the pace car. Tagliani faced more woes as he hit the wall at turn four under caution, subsequently retiring from the race after 30 laps.

Hunter-Reay held onto the lead at the restart with Conway close behind. Dario Franchitti and Will power banged wheels as Franchitti passed the Australian for third. James Jakes went straight on at turn four but got the car spun around and rejoined at the back of the field.

The third caution of the day came out after Sebastian Saavedra hit the wall at turn six after a close battle with Marco Andretti.

On the restart, again Hunter-Reay and Conway built a lead, but Dario Franchitti, who had been quick all day, was passed by Will Power, Tony Kanaan and fellow Brit Justin Wilson. EJ Viso's day went from bad to worse as he jumped the restart, giving him a drive through penalty. Two laps later, James Hinchcliffe hit a tyre marker and collected it, having to pit to remove it, dropping him to 20th.

Mike Conway re-took the lead on lap 44, meanwhile Scott Dixon moved into the top five as he passed indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan. Dixon's Ganassi teammate Franchitti then passed Kanaan on the next lap, with Helio Castroneves following not long after.

With the final pitstops out of the way, Conway continued to lead with a 19 second lead over Ryan Hunter-Reay. Conway's Dale Coyne teammate Justin Wilson ran in third 3.7 seconds adrift of Hunter-Reay with 10 laps to go.

Ryan Briscoe crashed with 3 laps to go. The race was allowed to continue though with only a local yellow flag being shown. Conway's lead had decreased to ten seconds but Hunter-Reay didn't look likely to threaten as the white flag came out.

Conway went on to win the race ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dale Coyne teammate and fellow Englishman Justin Wilson. Scott Dixon battled back from his early collision with AJ Allmendinger to finish fourth, Helio Castroneves finished fifth. The Brazilian now leads the points ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay. Points leader prior to the race, Marco Andretti sits third after finishing the race three laps down in 20th place.

The second race of the Duals in Detroit starts tomorrow at 3:30 USA EST tomorrow. Conway starts on pole after setting the fastest time in this morning's qualifying session. Compatriot James Jakes starts second.

Picture credit - IndyCar Media  

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