The 2014 running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach marked the event’s 40th running, and what a way to celebrate! The race-winner was (2011 Long Beach winner) Mike Conway, who ran a smart race, kept his nose clean, and fought off a hard-charging Will Power to secure the win. Still, Conway’s wasn’t the drive of the race- that honor goes to fourth-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya.
Montoya had a lot to prove going into the 2014 season. He was getting on in years and looking a little soft compared to the young, fit Montoya that won at Indy and Monaco- but Montoya is a hero to many Latin-Americans, and he promised them- us!- that he was coming back to race. Race he did- starting from 16th on the grid after contact with the wall early in Saturday’s qualifying, Montoya charged all the way to 3rd before a poorly-timed pit stop under caution forced him to re-start from the back of the pack on lap 30. Once the green flags flew again, Montoya began his charge to the front anew- passing everyone (again!) all the way to a 4th-place finish.
It was the kind of charge you see in IndyCar maybe once every few decades. The last one I saw that compared to Montoya’s Long Beach push was Villeneuve at the 1995 Indy 500- and if Montoya was 15 years younger we’d all be heralding the birth of a new star.
Speaking of new stars, how about that Josef Newgarden? His team, Sarah Fisher Racing, is under-funded, under-staffed, and seems pretty comfortable with their underdog badge. Nobody told young Newgarden, though- his race ended when got smacked from behind by Ryan Hunter-Reay. While leading the freakin’ race! It’s no wonder they’re talking about sending the kid to Formula 1 to fly the stars and stripes!
Still, this was Mike Conway’s race, and he deserves a ton of credit. Here’s how the race played out for everyone else …
|Car No.||Driver||Engine||Grid Pos.|
|2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevy||4|
|15||Graham Rahal||Honda||-1 Lap|
|11||Sebastian Bourdais||Chevy||-3 Laps|
|98||Jack Hawksworth||Honda||-3 Laps|
|19||Justin Wilson||Honda||-16 Laps|
|8||Ryan Briscoe||Chevy||-20 Laps|
… and you can get a better sense of what the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was like, from Mike Conway’s perspective, in this handy infographic provided by IndyCar timing and scoring. Enjoy!
Source | Photos: IndyCar.