By A.J. Foyt
We went into the Long Beach Grand Prix feeling pretty good because Mike Conway likes the track and he drove a great race there last year when he won. We also knew that the Chevrolet teams were getting a 10-spot grid penalty because they decided to change out all their engines before they reached the mileage limit—more on that later.
We took a chance in our setup because we wanted the ABC Supply car to be faster—if you’re satisfied with where you are in this game, you’re never going to move forward. But rainy weather on Friday—our practice day-- really worked against us because we got so little time on track. With just an hour of practice before qualifying on Saturday, we decided to go back to what we know. The car wasn’t perfect but it was more predictable to Mike. We qualified 14th but because of that grid penalty we moved up to start 7th.
The race went downhill from there.
We lost two spots on the start—thanks to a bang from behind (Graham Rahal) in Turn 1 which knocked Mike hard enough that he got sideways. Mike recovered and was running a good pace in the top 10.
We had a problem on our first pit stop – one of our guys was hurting from a fall earlier in the weekend and it affected his performance. I appreciate the tough attitude but I told him next time we need to know because I think it triggered a chain reaction of events.
Or maybe it was just a case of when things aren’t going right, they go wrong in a hurry.