Mike Conway and his grocery cart navigate the aisles of Whole Foods in Birmingham, Ala., with the aplomb of his Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car on the twisting Barber Motorsports Park course. This run might have been more difficult. Conway loads up on dinner items and organic, good-for-you snack foods for the race weekend. He then jumps into the black VW Beetle rental car for the short trip to his hotel – another interesting drive during rush hour traffic.
“When we were at the (late February Open Test) we passed a Whole Foods and I said, ‘Great,’ ’’ Conway says. “I always try to eat well and cook my own food. I always try to have enough and not run around and try to find something last minute.”
Conway, 26, has been running around South Florida between races in St. Petersburg and Birmingham, setting up his new home in Miami. What, a couple of Midwest winters too much for the native of England? “You can be based anywhere in America because we race all over America,” he says. “You don’t have to be based when the team is located (Indianapolis for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing). I was lucky enough to have a chance to live where I wanted to be, which is by water and somewhere warm.
“I literally got the keys (April 1) and my stuff arrived earlier this week. I’m settled in, near some friends and making new ones. (Marco Andretti) is a stone’s throw away.”
Conway, in his second season with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, has shown well on the track through the first two races – advancing 11 positions to finish eighth in Brazil and starting 10th at St. Pete.
“The pace has always been good; it’s just a case of letting the race come to you,” he says. “At Sao Paulo, we got some good points, which is the main thing to start the season. At St. Pete, we were looking for a really strong finish but unfortunately we came together with (Raphael) Matos (and finished 19th). It was just one of those things. I was biding my time, passing cars when I wanted to and making sure it was safe each time. It was a shame we didn’t get the points because this early on you want to keep scoring.
“My main goal this year is to be consistent and that will lead us to the top.”