DETROIT -- Mike Conway proved Saturday that he's IndyCar's new king of street-circuit racing.
A dominating victory for a part-time driver was the first part of the story for the inaugural Dual in Detroit, a weekend doubleheader.
Conway first won the pole for Sunday's race and then dominated the Saturday race. He finished 12.9 seconds ahead of reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in just his second race of the season. He drove Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's car in the April 21 race in Long Beach, Calif., qualifying fifth.
Conway skipped the Indianapolis 500, a race he has twice crashed out of in spectacular fashion, because he has chosen not to compete on oval tracks. The two 70-lap races this weekend are being contested on a street circuit at Belle Isle Park.
Conway led by as many as 19 seconds for one of the smallest teams in the sport. Dale Coyne Racing fields two cars, and this win was just its third in history. Justin Wilson won for Dale Coyne's team in 2009 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, adding an oval-track victory at Texas Motor Speedway last year.
"An amazing feeling," Conway said. "Obviously, it all came together last minute.
"As soon as I got in the car, it felt good. The car was really hooked up, and the more rubber got on the track the faster I could go."
Hunter-Reay's last chance to catch Conway came with three laps to go when Ryan Briscoe, driving the Panther Racing car in place of ousted JR Hildebrand, slid into the tire barrier. But race control decided not to throw a full-course caution, allowing Conway to maintain his advantage.
"I keep saying, 'If Mike wasn't here,'" Hunter-Reay said. "He shows every time he's in the car that he's (as good as there is)."
"Mike has the talent to (keep winning)," Wilson said.
Saturday's race was supposed to be held in the rain, but the inclement weather never came.
AJ Allmendinger jammed a thumb when he ran over the back of Scott Dixon's car on the opening lap. Allmendinger's car then slammed into the tire barrier, ending his race.
Allmendinger couldn't be more apologetic, blaming himself several times for the contact. He said he didn't see the pack slowing in front of him.
Sunday's race could be his last in IndyCar for Team Penske. Team president Tim Cindric said they have "no plans" to field another entry.
Meanwhile, Allmendinger will return to NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series next weekend at Pocono Raceway.
The race also featured an interesting tangle between Sebastian Saavedra and Marco Andretti that resulted in Saavedra slamming the tire barrier, then giving a double-fingered salute to Andretti when he came back around the track. Andretti entered the race with the series points lead but lost it with a 21st-place finish (out of 25 cars).
James Hinchcliffe also provided some interesting television after he ran over an out-of-bounds tire, then dragged it back to the pits.
Qualifying for Sunday's race was held prior to the first race, and there was some controversy to it after drivers were split into two 15-minute groups.
Conway won the pole six weeks after making his season debut with a fifth-place starting spot at Long Beach. This pole was his first in the series for the driver now only racing on road courses.
It also was the first such qualifying honor for Coyne's team, which named Conway to drive its car earlier in the week. The No. 18 car started the season with Ana Beatriz competing in the first five races, including the Indianapolis 500, where she finished 15th.
EJ Viso started on Saturday's pole, a personal first, after top qualifier Dario Franchitti served a 10-spot penalty for changing an engine prematurely at Indianapolis. Franchitti's Honda was about 200 miles short of the 2,000-mile requirement when it needed changed three days before pole qualifying.
Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimball and Josef Newgarden also served engine-changing penalties from Indy.
James Jakes secured his first front-row start, and it came a day after starting third for Saturday's race. He finished 10th.
Off the track, IndyCar officials confirmed that it will introduce bodywork kits for the 2015 season that will help competitors resume pursuit of speed records at all tracks, particularly Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Arie Luyendyk's track record has stood since 1996.