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IndyCar driver Mike Conway drops out of Fontana season finale

September 13, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Mike Conway will not race this year at Fontana, which is one of five oval tracks on IndyCar's 15-race schedule.
Mike Conway will not race this year at Fontana, which is one of five oval tracks… (Robert Laberge / Getty Images )

British driver Mike Conway, saying he was "not comfortable" on oval racetracks, dropped out of Saturday night's IndyCar season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, his team, A.J. Foyt Racing, said Thursday.

Wade Cunningham will replace Conway in the No. 14 car, the team said.

The 29-year-old Conway said in a statement that "I've come to realize I'm not comfortable on the ovals and no longer wish to compete on them."

He did not elaborate, but Conway was involved in a spectacular crash at the end of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 in which his car went airborne and into the catch fence in front of the grandstands.

Conway broke a vertebra and suffered multiple factures to his lower left leg, requiring months of rehabilitation.

The Indy 500 and the Fontana race -- where speeds exceed 215 mph -- are two of the five races on oval tracks on this year's 15-race schedule of the Izod IndyCar Series.

The rest are on street and twisty road courses where average speeds are lower. One of those races, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach that's held on the city's seaside streets, was won by Conway last year.

"I'm truly sorry for putting the team and our sponsors in a difficult position, but this is the hardest decision I have ever made in my racing career," Conway said.

"I want to stress that I am not finished racing and to this end, I would love to continue with Foyt Racing, but that's something we need to discuss in the future," he said.

Team owner and legendary driver A.J. Foyt said in a statement that while he was "disappointed that we can't finish out the season together," that it "took a lot of courage for Mike to come forward and we respect him highly for that and we certainly want to honor his decision."

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