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Apr 03, 2014 - 06:19 AM
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IndyCar News And Notes - April 2, 2014
Posted by: newsla on Apr 03, 2014 - 06:15 AM
IndyCar News
IndyCar News And Notes - April 2, 2014

Today's IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:

1. Conway's charge blunted at St. Petersburg

2. Rahal hangs with celebrities in Long Beach

3. Tickets available to The Yellow Party in Long Beach


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1. Conway's charge blunted at St. Petersburg: Mike Conway's finish in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg could be filed in the stats-don't-tell-the-whole-story department.

Conway, who started 12th in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing car, charged to third midway through the 110-lap race and was poised to make a run on race leader Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

But as others in the top 10 ducked in for service on Lap 77 under the first caution of the race, Conway didn't hear the radio communication from the team's pit stand and remained on the 1.8-mile street circuit.

He was credited with leading a lap but accidently passed the pace car to enter the pit area on Lap 78, which led to a drive through penalty that essentially took him out of contention.

"We made some big gains on the red Firestone tires and drove by many people. So that was very positive," Conway said. "I wasn't hoping for a safety car there. I wanted to hold the gap when we went to the black tires. Then I didn't hear a radio communication to come into the pits. I thought the safety car waved me by but they were waving (James) Hinchcliffe by instead. And that was it. It screwed up our whole day. That is definitely frustrating after driving to third."

Team owner Ed Carpenter, in his first race outside the cockpit, said the positives outweighed the disappointing finish.

"In my mind, we made some major gains with Mike and the car throughout the weekend," he said. "The building blocks are there for down the road. We made some mistakes on the pit stop and passing the pace car. There are some things we learned."

Carpenter, who will compete in the No. 20 car on ovals, gained a different perspective while on the pit stand.

"The only other time I have stood on the stand that long is when I had an early DNF in a race," he said. "It was a learning experience for me as I watched what the guys do on the stand and during the races. I was able to see how strategies unfold."

Conway is looking forward to another strong drive at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which he won in 2011. The Verizon IndyCar Series race weekend is April 11-13.

2. Rahal hangs with celebrities in Long Beach: The surroundings have changed over the years, but Graham Rahal remembers adventures as a youngster when his father was racing in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

He'd visit with friends who lived nearby, take in some golf and go to the beach.

"I've always enjoyed it here; it's a fun place for us to come," said Rahal, who took part in a media day at the circuit April 1 with participants in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race. "Since I finished second last year, I can't wait. This is one of my favorite races every year and it's one of the ones I enjoy the most. It's always been a difficult place for me - for whatever reason - I've always been fast and run up front but something has always gone wrong.

"I'm excited to be here and be able to come off the second-place finish here last year and keep that momentum going to have a good result."

The second Verizon IndyCar Series event of the season is April 11-13 and features the third standing start in series history.

"I think it will work well here. We all want it to be good," said Rahal, who competed in the Champ Car World Series finale in 2008 that used a standing start on the 1.968-mile, 12-turn temporary street course. "This is a first time for a lot of us and we haven't had a lot of practice with this car and the new engine specs (for Honda, which a added twin turbo this season). We'll be getting used to it but it's the same for everybody so we've got to go make the most of it. I'm sure it will be a good show."

3. Tickets available to The Yellow Party in Long Beach: Ryan and Beccy Hunter-Reay will host The Yellow Party on April 11 as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend.

The Yellow Party is the biggest fund-raising event for Racing For Cancer, which Hunter-Reay founded following the passing of his mother from cancer. Activities at the Federal Bar in downtown Long Beach with paid admission include live music, silent and live auctions, food and beverages.

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