Drivers respect Conway’s decision to step aside

There was unanimous support in IndyCar on Friday for driver Mike Conway, who pulled out of the season finale because he was uncomfortable racing on the oval at Auto Club Speedway.

"I was thinking about it last night and I thought, 'If you watched him through the chicane at Baltimore, bravery isn't an issue for Mike Conway,'" said four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti. "I think it takes a very brave person to say, 'No, I don't like doing that.'"

Conway participated in Wednesday's open test at Fontana, where IndyCar is back for the first time since 2005. Sometime during the eight-hour session, the British driver decided he didn't want to run Saturday night in the 500-mile race.

Conway, who suffered serious leg and back injuries in a 2010 crash at Indianapolis and wrecked there again in this year's race, said pulling out was the hardest decision he's ever made.

"I've come to realize I'm not comfortable on the ovals and no longer wish to compete on them," he said in a statement. "I want to stress that I am not finished racing and to this end, I would love to continue with Foyt Racing, but that's something we need to discuss in the future."

Conway indicated he was open in trying to continue his career in IndyCar, and team owner Chip Ganassi indicated there was a level of understanding in the paddock about Conway's decision.

"These cars today, it seems to me they are a very temperamental animal (diabolical is a better term) to keep under control at some of these tracks. You can get in a car sometimes and scare yourself; some in the best in the business scare themselves," Ganassi said. "You don't want to see anybody stepping out of something they love, but I don't think anybody has not expressed fear from time to time.

"That's part and parcel of IndyCar racing. I just hope that Mike has the right group of people around him, I hope he was just having a bad day." More at San Jose Mercury News/AP

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