Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conway to Andretti Autosport

With most of us getting ready to ride out the blizzard at home over the next couple of days, Andretti Autosport gave us something to talk about by announcing today that Mike Conway has signed with the team for 2011, joining Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick to complete the expected four-car team.

Sponsorship will be announced at a later date.

The 27-year-old from England, who had been with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing the last two seasons, has competed in 23 INDYCAR races and has five top-10 finishes.

After finishing 17th in points in 2009, Conway had picked up three top-10 finishes (Brazil, Barber and Long Beach) in the first five races prior to Indy. He eventually qualified 15th at 224.583 mph and held the lead from laps 163-177 before pitting for fuel and giving way to teammate Justin Wilson.

Still in 9th place heading into turn 3 of lap 199, Conway closed quickly on a slowing Hunter-Reay, making contact with his left rear tire. The collision sent Conway soaring above Hunter-Reay's car, then into the catch fence in the north short chute, where his machine disintegrated around him in a horrific crash.

Conway suffered a broken leg and a compression fracture in his back, and while he tried to rehab in time to get back into the car by the end of the season, decided it was best to focus on 2011.

He has reported on his Twitter feed that he has been working out and is physically ready for the upcoming season. Up until now he had mentioned having several things in the works but was still in the process of looking for a ride. It will be interesting to find out in the future how all of this went down.

The signing comes as a bit of a surprise, but is a good move nonetheless. Conway is young and has the potential to be a good driver, especially on the road and street courses. Plus by all accounts he is very likeable and everyone seemed to be rooting for him to have a speedy recovery. He should fit into the mix at AA, especially given the commitment within the team to exist a little more harmoniously this year.

His seat was one that many thought might potentially go to Dan Wheldon, who won the 500 for Andretti in 2005. So the question continues...where does Wheldon go?


  1. Curiouser and curiouser, to quote Lewis Carrol.

    Seriously, this has been a time of whirlwind development. I've been going through all my notes tonight, because I think Conway's signing really might be the key to bringing some other seats into focus soon.

  2. I agree, this almost came out of nowhere! I think the rest of the moves are going to be like musical chairs and a couple of good drivers are going to be left settling for one-offs at Indy.