Conway’s Kentish Roots, part 2

Mike Conway resides in Sevenoaks, Kent, which is just southeast of London and not far from Brand’s Hatch Racing Circuit. Brand’s Hatch has hosted famous British racers from Jimmy Clark to Nigel Mansell and Jenson Button. As covered to death in part one Kent is the best part of Britain and boasts a rich legacy of racing going back nearly ninety years. Fittingly and not surprisingly, they honor and cherish their warriors in Kent.

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Warrior’s Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent

A journeyman driver and racing warrior himself, Conway’s driven for no fewer than five ICS teams going back to 2009. Now in his sixth season driving IndyCars he’s made news with two wins so far this year, repeating at Long Beach and most recently taking the second race in Toronto. He also made news in 2012 when he announced he was walking away from driving ovals only a few months after undergoing a second horrifying wreck at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He was badly injured in his first accident during the 2010 Indianapolis 500. Driving for Dreyer and Reinbold he was lucky to have survived the horrific crash, his blue and gold Dad’s car spinning like a disintegrating top down the speedway’s catch fence.  Conway suffered serious injuries to his lower body as well as his spine but he never gave up, maintained the characteristic British stiff upper lip and after months of excruciating rehabilitation made a miraculous comeback in time for the 2011 season with Andretti Autosport.

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Canterbury Cathedral main spire, Kent

An occupational hazard, he had another encounter with the fence at Indy in 2012 driving for AJ Foyt in what was a scary looking collision with Will Power. Unscathed but jarred, later that year he decided to race only the non-oval circuits on the ICS schedule. Dan Wheldon had been killed in the catch fence at Las Vegas the previous October and Conway has admitted that his fellow countryman’s death weighed heavily on his mind.

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Dan Wheldon at Indianapolis, 2008

This year Conway’s renaissance has resumed. He’s formed a driving partnership with team owner Ed Carpenter and they’ve been formidable as co-drivers of the #20 Fuzzy’s car. Each a specialist in his own right, the tandem approach of Conway and Carpenter sharing the ride has paid dividends. With wins for both drivers and a record year for the gritty little team, they now regularly challenge the Big Three teams for victories. It couldn’t happen to a nicer more deserving bunch of guys.

Who knows? Conway and Carpenter’s platoon success could be the start of a trend in big league motorsports.  It’s certainly working for them. Not surprisingly Carpenter hopes to keep Conway in the fold next season and negotiations to continue as co-pilots are underway. One thing’s crystalline clear – Kent’s own Mike Conway is one helluva driver who’s been through incredible challenges and survived them all, like true warriors do.

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