By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
After taking any ride that’s offered the past few years, Conor Daly will finally have stability in his NTT IndyCar Series career.
Ed Carpenter Racing announced Monday morning that he’ll replace Ed Jones in the No. 20 Chevrolet and run a third entry in the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in 2020.
Daly, 27, will run the road and street course circuits, which covers 12 out of the 17-race schedule, with Carpenter running the oval races. He’ll also become teammates with rookie Rinus VeeKay, who’ll run the entire season in the No. 21 Chevrolet.
Additionally, U.S. Air Force will be sponsoring Daly’s efforts at a much larger scale after being on Daly’s car in the last two Indianapolis 500s and the 2019 finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
For the third car Daly will attempt to make his sixth 500, he’ll run a new car number and special livery that’ll be announced at a later date.
Daly said the support of U.S. Air Force has been tremendous as he’s excited to have a grand opportunity to further prove his worth after driving for five different race teams (Dale Coyne, Harding, Andretti Autsport, Carlin and Schmidt Peterson) since his last full season in 2017.
“I am so thankful for the loyalty the U.S. Air Force has demonstrated along with the faith in me to get the job done,” Daly said. “This has been an incredible relationship to see grow and get stronger as we continue to add races to our program. I couldn’t be happier to be getting one more step closer to full time Indy car competition.
“As an Indiana kid, it just feels right to be getting a chance with Ed Carpenter Racing. This team has done such an incredible job over the years and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ed and this group. I look forward to entering a season feeling fully prepared with simulator time and testing for the first time in several years.”
Carpenter said he’s seen Daly’s growth as a competitor that could benefit his race team in the foreseeable future.
“I am extremely proud and excited to welcome Conor Daly and the U.S. Air Force to Ed Carpenter Racing,” Carpenter said. “I have seen Conor grow and mature over the course of his career and am confident that his best years are yet to come.
“It is a huge honor to represent the men and women who serve in the U.S. Air Force and we hope to make them proud this season.”
Major Ross McKnight, Chief of Events Marketing for Air Force Recruiting, commented that he’s excited to expand its partnership with both Daly and ECR.
“The U.S. Air Force is fortunate to have some incredible partners and ambassadors for our brand and Conor is certainly one of them,” Maj. McKnight said. “We are proud of the effort and appreciative of the supportive partners that have made the Air Force Indy car program so successful.
“The results and direct correlation between STEM principles, speed, teamwork, risk, and precision skill drive our continued investment. We are excited for the 2020 season with Ed Carpenter Racing and Conor Daly.”
Daly ran seven races (five of which were ovals) in 2019, with a sixth at World Wide Technology Raceway being his best result.
The season opener will commence on the streets of St. Petersburg Sunday March 15, 2020. Daly made two starts on the Florida circuit (2016-17), finishing in the top-15 in each of those races.