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IndyCar Season Preview: Mike Conway

Photo credit: Ned Leone

#14 ABC Supply Co. Dallara-Honda, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Born: August 19, 1983

Home: Bromley, Kent, England

2011 HIGHLIGHTS: After an injury-shortened 2010 season, Conway managed to secure a full-time drive with Andretti Autosport, and rewarded the team by taking his maiden IndyCar victory at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He also scored three other top-10 finishes.

2011 LOWLIGHTS: Andretti Autosport was incomprehensibly slow at Indianapolis, and Conway was the first victim of it, not even coming close to qualifying for the race. That helped limit him to 17th in points at the end of the season.

SEASON OUTLOOK: In the wake of a bullish driver market, and with the desire to improve the team’s road and street course program, Foyt let Vitor Meira go. Despite numerous attractive options on the market, including Oriol Servia and Justin Wilson, the team settled on Conway, believing that he represented the organization’s best chance at improving on the road and street courses. Conway represents the first IndyCar driver with a race victory to run full-time for Foyt since Felipe Giaffone in 2005.

Foyt is one of the lucky teams that picked up a Honda engine contract for the 2012 season, which should allow for some consistency even in the wake of a change to a new car. And where Meira was a decent mid-pack driver whose career may have already plateaued there, Conway is a driver who’s still on the rise after a successful 2011. And given Conway’s disappointment at Indy last year, driving for a four-time 500 winner should provide him all the motivation he needs to climb even further up the standings.

– Chris Leone

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