Mike Conway to IndyCar

In a surprise announcement about 24 hours ago, Dreyer & Reinbold announced Mike Conway as their first race driver of 2009. I’m guessing that wording means one or two drivers will be added to the programme, and that one of those is probably Milka Duno. It’ll be interesting to see if she does the full year this time.

I’d just like to say hi to anyone coming over here as a result of Jeff’s kind link at MyNameIsIRL.com. I commented over there about Mike Conway’s race history. MyNameIsIRL.com has been the source of most of my visitors for some time now, so thanks for coming!

Mike Conway is a fast driver who doesn’t seem to pull a decent year together. He’s one of those guys who you always think it’ll only be a matter of time before he does pull a good year together. A bit like Vitor Meira, he runs quickly but always seems to have a backmarker take him out or a little bit of mechanicals go wrong at just the wrong time. There’s never a right time, but mid-race when you’re running in the top three or four is particularly galling.

I commented on his test with Panther at the time and noted how that story seemed to come from nowhere – and this new announcement certainly did as well.
I wrote at the time:

Conway won a race at the Monte Carlo round of the GP2 Series, supporting the Monaco GP, and currently sits 11th in points. Not stellar, but respectable given the competitiveness of the midfield in GP2, and a win at Monaco is nothing to be disregarded. I saw that race and he was dominant, it was not a fluke.

Since then he put in some good performances but still only wound up 12th in points. Given his speed this is a bizarre finishing position to find himself and I struggle to explain it because he was a top 5 driver all season. Okay so his team did fade a little toward the end of the year, but not THAT badly!

I also noted how only autosport.com had the story. Clearly the ‘name’ US journos we all know and love (Miller, Cavin) must have known about the test – the guy was fastest – but I assume they didn’t take the prospect of him driving in 2009 too seriously. I didn’t either, I expected him to go for a full GP2 title assault with a top team!

I wish him well for 2009, it’ll be fascinating to see how he adapts. I have a feeling he’ll turn out to be a good oval racer but it might take him most of the year to get into it.

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