MIKE CONWAY, 26, is recovering from sustaining a bad fracture to one of the vertebrae in his neck and compression to his lower back after a 200+ mph crash on the 199th lap of last Sunday’s Indy 500. It is also reported that he has a broken left leg.
As it was so close to the end of the 200 lap, 500 mile race many drivers were slowing to save fuel. But Conway – who was born in Bromley and lives in Sevenoaks, both in Kent (my county) – wasn’t in the need to save fuel and was at top speed.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was virtually out of fuel and was limping to the finish line. It was his car which Conway hit at full speed. The Englishman’s car then flipped into the air and disintegrated as it smashed into the catch fencing. Hunter-Reay was lucky that Conway’s car didn’t hit him square in the head as it came back down. It would have killed him instantly; in fact we were extremely lucky that we didn’t lose two drivers or more in this crash.
Of the crash, Hunter-Reay, 29, said: “I’m sorry Mike is hurt… It was totally uncalled for. We weren’t going to make it anyway. When you run out of fuel in these cars, it’s like hitting the brakes. In hindsight, we should have stopped for fuel.”
Two spectators were treated for minor injuries as a result of flying debris.
Scot Dario Franchitti, 37, won the race – his second Indy 500 – and led 155 of the 200 laps (Conway lead for 15). Franchitti is a cousin Paul di Resta, Force India’s test driver. Englishman Dan Wheldon came second as he did last year, and Marco Andretti (Mario’s grandson) came third. Franchitti won the race at an average speed of 161.623 mph.
Mike Conway never lost consciousness during the crash, and hopes to be back racing in America in around three months time. He is a very, very lucky boy.