SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — Graham Rahal and Mike Conway both finished a few ounces shy of fine results at Sonoma Raceway.
Rahal had the lead with four laps to go, but missed out on his first IndyCar victory since 2008 when he was forced to pit for fuel.
Conway then took the lead, but his own fuel gamble cost him moments later when Scott Dixon passed him. Conway eventually crawled over the finish line in 14th place, six spots ahead of Rahal.
Rahal was particularly discouraged by his failed gamble, which forced him off the track right when he was closing in on his second career victory.
“Man, I don’t know when things are going to break for me,” said Rahal, who is losing his National Guard sponsorship after the season. “For a second, I thought it might happen. The team didn’t say anything to me for a while, and I thought, `Shoot, I might have gotten the mileage. Next thing I know, the light comes on, and I’ve got to pit.”
Conway led 19 laps midway through the race, and he moved in front again after Rahal dropped off. His hopes for a third victory of a solid season ended when Dixon slid past him while he tried to conserve fuel, and it finally vanished on the final lap.
“I thought it would be good, but I suppose the lap when I used the overtake button to keep back Scott came back to cost us,” Conway said. “When I got to Turn 10 on the last lap, the engine just died. It was a tough way to finish the year.”
Conway’s season is over, since team owner Ed Carpenter will drive the No. 20 car at Fontana on Saturday.
Conway still ended up playing a minor role in the finish. A local yellow flag was out for Conway’s crawling car when Will Power surged past Justin Wilson for ninth place on the final stretch, and IndyCar slotted Power back into 10th place after review.