Welcome to the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. I'm Mike Conway, and I'll be your unofficial tour guide for the weekend's events. I'll be writing three more blogs for The Sun, so I'll be here to explain things and help you enjoy the race. I'm sure that by the time it's done, you're going to love this event as much as I do.
But first, let me introduce myself. I'm 28 years old, grew up in England -- Bromley, Kent, to be precise -- and live in Miami during the racing season. I'll be driving the No. 27 Buffalo Wild Wings car owned by Andretti Autosport. Most of you probably know me from the bad crash at the Indianapolis 500 in 2010, but I'd like you to know me for my win earlier this year in Long Beach.
That's because Long Beach and Baltimore have much in common. Both are temporary street circuits, which means we race on the city's streets between concrete barricades. It's a tricky proposition, but I feel like I have one small advantage beyond the Long Beach victory:
Yes, it wasn't long after I saw the map of the race course that I noticed I had my own street. As we turn left from Light Street onto Conway, we head straight for the pits and Camden Yards. I like my chances on that particular stretch, but maybe that's just me.
People often ask me how I got started in racing. For me, it was all about go-karts. When I was a kid, go-kart racing was something I always wanted to try. It started out as something to occupy the weekends, but quickly became something much more serious.
My first real kart race was when I was 8 years old at Rye House in Hertfordshire, England. From there, I eventually went on to win the Formula A British karting championship, and then I was off through the other categories of racing, working my way through various formulas. In 2004, I won the British Formula Renault championship. Two years later, I won the British Formula 3 International championship.
The following two years, I competed in the GP2 Series. Along the way, I tested with an IndyCar team, Panther Racing, and in 2009 I decided to move to the U.S., join Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, and start racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series. This year, I moved to Michael Andretti's team, where I'm teammates with Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick. The series is unbelievably competitive, and I'm proud to be a part of it.
If this is your first auto race, you're going to love it. If you're a veteran race fan, you already know what I'm talking about. Pack your sunscreen and some earplugs, then pick a good spot and watch the action. Or do what many fans do at street races -- roam around and watch the race from many venues. Street races are like carnivals. There are so many things to do other than just watch a race.
Or, if you really want to be of service, park yourself along Conway Street and help a racer out. I'm in the black and gold car with the Buffalo Wild Wings logo on the side. You can't miss me.
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