By David Morgan, Associate Editor
In the aviation world, the A-10 Warthog is one of the most revered planes in the fleet, with its menacing look striking fear into all that cross its path.
When the checkered flag flew on Saturday night’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, Conor Daly climbed out of his No. 59 Carlin Chevrolet and donned a mask with the A-10’s aggressive nose cone on it, having just sliced through the field with the same tenacity as an A-10 pilot would have.
Starting 19th in the NTT IndyCar Series season opener, Daly had his work cut out for him, but quickly discovered he had a car capable of moving toward the front of the field as the 200-lap race progressed.
Daly ran just outside the top-10 for much of the first half of the race before making his move into the top-10 on lap 86 and never looking back. He climbed as high as fifth before his final pit stop on lap 183 and was making his way back up through the field when the final caution flag flew, setting up a three-lap dash to the finish line.
Despite having a strong car, Daly had his hands full over those final three laps and was only able to get to sixth by the time the checkered flag waved.
“It was an awesome night and I knew we had a great car in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet,” Daly said. “I messed up a little bit in qualifying and just under drove it, but we made up for it with such a great race. The team had great pit stops, really incredible pit stops all night. The car was fantastic to drive and it really gave me the confidence to go forward. We made such a great improvement from last year.
“To be honest we probably should’ve been in the top five, but we just got a little loose in those last three laps and just couldn’t hang onto it. I was driving it pretty sideways for final couple laps. I’m just super thankful to Carlin and Gallagher for giving me the opportunity to be here with the team and to be in the series. It’s such a great way to start out the championship.”
The 2020 season will be a mix and match campaign for Daly, running the ovals for Carlin, while running the road and street courses, as well as the Indianapolis 500, for Ed Carpenter Racing.
Following Saturday night’s race at Texas, Daly will shift over to ECR for the next two races on the schedule at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and Road America before rejoining Carlin for the doubleheader at Iowa in mid-July.
What a night P19 to P6! Car was a rocket, great pit stops from the @CarlinRacing crew! No idea what happened on the last 3 laps we must have picked up some marbles because she was looser than a few slippery snakes. So thankful to be driving in this series. @GallagherGlobal pic.twitter.com/LYdajAiJoW
— Conor Daly (@ConorDaly22) June 7, 2020