Dale Coyne’s third win in his 30-year history as an IndyCar team owner was easily his most authoritative.
The first was the “oh mercy, Dale Coyne’s team actually won a race!” when Justin Wilson took the checkered flag at Watkins Glen International in 2009. Then, last year, Wilson pulled off a surprise win at Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval when Graham Rahal smacked the wall off Turn 4 in the final stages.
This Saturday in Detroit, Mike Conway came in off the streets, led 47 of 70 laps from second on the grid, and delivered a dominant victory in the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda.
Not bad for a guy who was in his father’s vegetable garden in England last Sunday, when a certain 500-mile race was going on in Indianapolis…
“Well, yeah, Mark (Blundell, Conway’s manager) had a call from Dale, and spoke about possibly doing this weekend,” said Conway. “Yeah, I watched the first 10 laps of Indy. It looked good. I went away. I was in the garden helping my dad out with his vegetable garden. It was one of those kind of lazy Sundays.
“I watched the last 60 laps. It was really exciting and great to see all my friends out there. My father is quite the farmer. Horticulture; it’s in England. Then Monday, Tuesday, really got the heads up then, Tuesday lunchtime, it was all good to go. So amazing, yeah.”
When asked what the secret to Coyne’s team success, Conway chimed in, “British drivers.” Coyne gave an actual answer shortly thereafter.
“I just think it’s common sense, years of knowledge on everybody’s part,” Coyne said. “Our two engineers (Conway’s, John Dick, and Wilson’s, Bill Pappas) and myself, we’ve been doing this a long time.You know not to out-trick yourself. You remember things from the past that worked, think outside the box.
“We had a pretty aggressive engineering plan over the winter. You put all those things together and I think it’s paid off well.”
Wilson, who gave Coyne the first two wins, was all too happy for his countryman and the team today.
“I think it’s just a really cool story how he didn’t think he was going to be doing anything this weekend and here he is winning the race,” said the lanky Englishman. “There’s been a lot of hard work by Dale and the guys. Everyone has a lot to prove, that we were capable of winning at the front, trying to be more consistent, just working on every area.”