Long Beach, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Conway won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the second time after grabbing the lead from Scott Dixon with three laps to go and then holding off Will Power at the finish.
Starting 17th, Conway avoided being caught up in a multi-car crash on lap 56 and then moved his way up to second before Dixon, who was short on fuel, had to pit, allowing Conway to take the lead for the first time. He beat Power to the finish line by just 0.9 seconds for his third career IndyCar Series win, including his second on the streets of Long Beach.
Conway's first victory here came in 2011 when he drove for Andretti Autosport. The Englishman is driving a limited schedule for Ed Carpenter Racing in the series this season.
"I can't believe it. I can't believe I'm actually here [in Victory Circle]," Conway said. "It was an awesome job by the team. We just hung in there all day. We weren't really sure what we had but just hung in there all the way to the end. It just seemed to come to us."
Ryan Hunter-Reay started on the pole and had been dominant in this race until he and Josef Newgarden triggered the multi-car accident.
Newgarden had just exited the pits in front of Hunter-Reay to take the lead, but the front wing of Hunter-Reay's car clipped the right-rear tire of Newgarden's car as they were battling for position in turn 4. Newgarden crashed into the barrier, collecting Hunter-Reay and his Andretti Autosport teammate, James Hinchcliffe, who started on the outside pole. Takuma Sato, who won last year's race at Long Beach, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Jack Hawksworth were also involved in the wreck.
"I was on cold tires, and it was very hard to control the car," Newgarden said. "I knew Hunter-Reay's [tires] were hot, and I knew at some point he's probably going to get me. I didn't expect anybody to come up in the inside of [turn] 4. There's so little room in 4 that normally you can't make a pass there. I tried to give Hunter-Reay a little room. Maybe he got in there too hot and put a wing in. Next thing I knew I was in the wall, and then I was just getting plowed into by everyone."
Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion, finished one spot behind Newgarden in 20th after leading a race-high 51 laps.
"I could have waited a little bit later, and maybe that was my fault," Hunter- Reay said. "A lot of people say that was my fault. I made the decision at that split-second when [Newgarden] had some wheel spin to go for it. I was on hot tires. That's the type of driver I am. I go for it. Feel bad for everybody that was involved."
Power was attempting to win his fourth straight IndyCar race. He ended the 2013 season with victories in Houston and Fontana, Calif. and then began this season by winning in St. Petersburg, Fla. two weeks ago. The Team Penske driver struggled in qualifying on Saturday and started this race in 14th.
"Definitely a good day," Power said. "I kind of regretted not using the push- to-pass on the restart [with 10 laps to go]. I thought I would save it and get Mike [Conway] later. But he was mega-quick and a deserving winner."
Rookie Carlos Munoz finished third, while Juan Pablo Montoya took the fourth spot. Simon Pagenaud completed the top-five.
Dixon, the defending series champion, ended up finishing 12th, the last car on the lead lap.
"We were about a half of a lap short, but the last thing I wanted to do was run out of gas in front of the whole field and maybe cause a big accident," Dixon said.
Finishing sixth through 10th were: Mikhail Aleshin, a rookie this season, Oriol Servia, Marco Andretti, Sebastian Saavedra and Carlos Huertas, also a rookie.