Conway ready to roll with Foyt team
Mike Conway laughs at the mention that his first major test won't necessarily be in the Honda-powered Dallara DW chassis on the Sebring International Raceway short course Jan. 31, but how he interacts with A.J. Foyt.
Conway, who joined the Foyt organization Dec. 20, isn't concerned as much with either. He's looking forward to the opportunity to get started again.
“It’s been a shorter offseason than last year when I didn’t really know if I would be driving until the end of February,” said Conway, who’s made 39 IZOD IndyCar Series starts with two teams. “This year it was nice to know before Christmas what I was doing and focus on it. I’m excited to just get in the car now.
“(Team director) Larry (Foyt) is really committed to taking the team forward and has a lot of vision to making sure they get back into Victory Lane,” said Conway of the 1999 Indianapolis 500-winning and 1998 IZOD IndyCar Series championship team. “That definitely excited me. I get the chance to work with A.J. as well.”
Conway, who won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach last April with Andretti Autosport, brings strength on the road/street courses. He had six top-10 starts, delivering four top-10 finishes, on the roads/streets in 2011.
“With the series having twice as many road courses as ovals, we looked for a driver who is fast on those tracks and Mike has certainly proved himself in that area,” said A.J. Foyt, who’s the grand marshal for the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona this weekend. “I may even be able to give him a little advice when it comes to the ovals.”
Joining Conway on the road course Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 will be:
James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)
Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
Graham Rahal (Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing)
Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing)
Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)
Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology)
JR Hildebrand (National Guard Panther Racing)
Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and Will Power (Team Penske)
Oriol Servia (in the Lotus development car) will test Jan. 30 and 31. Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Kanaan, Hildebrand and the Team Penske trio also will be on the track Jan. 30.
Conway, who made his IZOD IndyCar Series debut in 2009 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, noted that communication will be an important asset at the outset of the season that begins March 25 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
“With the new car it’s all about who gets on top of it the quickest,” Conway said. “We’ll be working as well as we can with my engineers and the crew around me. Getting that jump at the beginning will be key. No one really knows who has the upper hand, and no one really will know until qualifying for St. Pete.” IndyCar.com