Conway crushes IndyCar field in Detroit Dual race 1

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If Saturday was an audition to be in an IndyCar at the remaining road and street races in 2013, Mike Conway aced it with flying colors.

The Englishman delivered a dominant performance in the first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit this weekend, leading more than half the 70 laps en route to the victory. The win is his first since Long Beach in 2011, and the first for Dale Coyne Racing since Justin Wilson at Texas last year.

It marks the first time in Coyne’s 30-year history as a team that both its cars have made the podium in one race.

Conway took the lead on the last stint on lap 55 when Wilson pitted. Conway ended his race on Firestone’s red alternates and despite a slight drop-off for eight laps from laps 60 to 68 that cost him about nine seconds, Conway still ended 12.9707 seconds ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Wilson made it two Coyne Hondas on the podium with third place. Scott Dixon was fourth and Helio Castroneves was fifth.

The rest of the top 10 included Dario Franchitti, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates Graham Rahal and James Jakes.

Earlier Saturday, Conway also qualified on pole for Dual 2, so a win would net him an extra $50,000 from SONAX for sweeping the weekend.

See the halfway race report here.

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
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Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

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