Mike Conway won the Grand Prix of Long Beach A hazy outlook, but no rain, greeted the IndyCar series in Long Beach for the 37th running of the prestigious Grand Prix. Surviving a hectic race and adding their name to a who’s who of open-wheel legends and Long Beach winners list was Mike Conway, shaking the proverbial monkey off his back and taking his first career victory, as our IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon writes for Richard’s F1...

As he has done at each race so far this season, Will Power led away from the green flag. The start was very fragmented, with only the first three rows actually in formation. The start of the Grand Prix of Long BeachThe rest were still catching up and in some cases still making the final hairpin turn onto the front straight. The drivers slotted into a single-file format to get through the first few corners, and the race ran under green for the first 25 laps. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, usually expected at the front of the field, were down in seventh and eighth places respectively.

On Lap 26, Justin Wilson was tapped into a spin at the final hairpin by Hélio Castroneves, and taking a gamble on a predicted full-course caution, Alex Tagliani and Ryan Briscoe made an early pit stop to attempt to get out of the midfield. While Wilson’s spin did not necessitate a caution, a subsequent spin by Simona di Silvestro in the same place confirmed the pace car’s deployment. With their first stops underway and the pits closed, Tagliani and Briscoe’s pit gambles paid off in a big way, and as the rest of the field pitted, these two drivers took a leisurely free pass to the front of the field.

In pit lane, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and the majority of the field all made their pit Andretti and Bourdais collide in pit lanestops and resumed behind Tagliani and Briscoe. Further down the pit lane, chaos ensued. Marco Andretti was unaware of Sebastian Bourdais travelling directly to his left, and as Justin Wilson exited from his pit stop, Andretti’s move to the left resulted in a crash with Bourdais. While the four-time Champ Car champion was less than impressed, Andretti admitted full fault and apologised.

At the restart on Lap 32, Briscoe got the jump on Tagliani and led the Canadian veteran and Hunter-Reay in third, who in turn had out-dragged Will Power to the first corner.

The next round of scheduled pit stops began on Lap 58, with Tagliani first, followed by Briscoe and Hunter-Reay. Tagliani’s charge back to the lead was ruined by traffic on his out-lap, while Briscoe only marginally beat Hunter-Reay out of the pits and into the final stint.

Lap 67 saw the next restart, and at the first corner, Castroneves locked his brakes and pitched himself and team-mate Will Power around, with Oriol Servià also getting caught up in the mess. Another caution was required to allow marshals to clean up.

Video highlights from the Grand Prix of Long Beach

Once everything had settled down and the race restarted yet again, Briscoe led from Hunter-Reay, Franchitti and Mike Conway, who had kept his nose clean and driven a smart race. On Lap 71, Conway moved past Franchitti into 3rd place at Turn 5, and was instantly gifted second when a slowing Hunter-Reay moved offline and into retirement, with a broken gearbox eventually blamed for the breakdown. A lap later, Conway made the best move of the day, taking Briscoe on the inside of the same corner, before opening up a lead of six seconds that he would never relinquish.

Conway, who was back in the IndyCar series in 2011 having recovered from his horrific injuries sustained at Indianapolis in 2010, motored on to take his first career victory. Ryan Briscoe finished second, with Franchitti coming home third. Will Power recovered to finish tenth.

 

2011 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Final Standings (85 laps):

Driver Team Laps Result
1. Mike Conway GBR GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport 85 1:53:11.100
2. Ryan Briscoe AUS IZOD/PPG Team Penske 85 + 6.3203
3. Dario Franchitti GBR Target Chip Ganassi Racing 85 + 6.7163
4. James Hinchcliffe CDN Sprott Inc Newman/Haas Racing 85 + 9.1705
5. Alex Tagliani CDN B&W Sam Schmidt Motorsports 85 + 16.0177
6. Oriol Servià ESP Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing 85 + 16.8966
7. Danica Patrick USA GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport 85 + 17.5016
8. Tony Kanaan BRZ KV Racing Technology Lotus 85 + 18.9655
9. Vitor Meira BRZ ABC Supply Co AJ Foyt Enterprises 85 + 19.4723
10. Will Power AUS Verizon Wireless Team Penske 85 + 19.8909
11. Raphael Matos BRZ AFS Racing 85 + 20.4660
12. Hélio Castroneves BRZ Shell/AAA Team Penske 85 + 20.7784
13. Graham Rahal USA Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing 85 + 21.3464
14. Sebastian Saavedra COL Conquest Racing 85 + 23.1137
15. James Jakes GBR Acorn Stairlifts Dale Coyne Racing 85 + 24.5926
16. Paul Tracy CDN Ralphs Dragon Racing 85 + 1:03.7578
17. JR Hildebrand USA US National Guard Panther Racing 85 + 1:10.9001
18. Scott Dixon NZL Target Chip Ganassi Racing 84 + 1 lap
19. Ana Beatriz BRZ Lubrizol Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 83 + 2 laps
20. Simona di Silvestro SUI Entergy HVM Racing 82 + 3 laps
21. Takuma Sato JPN KV Racing Technology Lotus 81 + 4 laps
22. Justin Wilson GBR Z-Line Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 78 + 7 laps
           
NOT CLASSIFIED
  Ryan Hunter-Reay USA DHL Andretti Autosport 72 Mechanical
  Charlie Kimball USA Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 66 Mechanical
  EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Lotus 59 Collision
  Marco Andretti USA Venom Energy Drink Andretti Autosport 27 Collision
  Sébastien Bourdais FRA Boy Scouts Dale Coyne Racing 27 Collision

[All images and video via IZOD IndyCar Series]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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