Ed Carpenter Racing’s Mike Conway took a gamble on tyres and made it stick as he stormed to victory at the second Verizon IndyCar Series race at Toronto.
Unlike the first race of the weekend, this one had to go down to the 80 minute time limit imposed by series officials – mainly because of the amount of caution periods and one late red flag that blighted this second half of the IndyCar double header weekend.
20 of the 56 laps ran by race winner Carpenter were hit by caution flags, the cause of which was a rain shower that passed over the track early on and prompted the entire field onto wet tyres.
Herein lies the masterstroke performed by Conway’s crew. At the first hint of a dry line the Briton switched to the Firestone slick tyres and proceeded to overtake a lot of his rivals who saw his progress and pitted for slicks a few laps later.
However, he was still behind a good number of drivers who decided to brave it on wets and hope the time would expire before the tyres did. The most notable of the men still on wets was Justin Wilson who certainly brought the fight to Conway after the Toyota reserve driver passed him for the lead.
Thankfully for Conway a red flag on lap 51 following a pile up at turn three – involving Ryan Briscoe, Carlos Huertas, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Carlos Munoz – allowed Wilson to act as a road block to the next car on slicks, Tony Kanaan.
At the restart it was obvious that those on wets were not going to see anything like a good return on pace and fell down the order, Wilson would eventually finish tenth.
In second it was Tony Kanaan, who was unable to abridge the eventual 3 second gap between him and Conway in the final three laps. Following closely behind was Team Penske’s Will Power who managed to keep Charlie Kimball at bay.
Fifth place went to Takuma Sato who made up for his woes in race one to put some valuable points on the board for AJ Foyt.
In terms of fastest rookie there was no doubt that award went to flying Yorkshireman Jack Hawksworth in his Bowers and Wilkins sponsored car.
The next race for the IndyCar paddock is in two weeks time at Honda-Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.