By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The momentum set by Ed Carpenter Racing has become one of the main angles in the 105th Indianapolis 500. Not only the team have responded phenomenally following Rinus VeeKay’s GMR Grand Prix triumph last Saturday, they’ve been blistering fast.
It shouldn’t really be a total surprise as ECR are known to show blistering speeds in many editions of the Indy 500. For Conor Daly, it’s the kind of momentum he sorely needs following back-to-back last-place finishes in the XPEL 375 and GMR GP.
During Wednesday’s six-hour practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daly led the ECR group being having a personal best of 226.372 mph. Good enough for second best with teammate and boss man Ed Carpenter being one spot behind at 226.103 mph.
The Noblesville native has run 180 laps (98 on Wednesday), putting him in a four-way tie for ninth most after two days. NTT IndyCar Series’ most recent winner was only 11th fastest at 224.993 mph. All in all, ECR have proven they can go fast in a group and set amazing trap speeds.
Daly commented after practice that the three-car effort have done an incredible job throughout the Month of May. He knows that he’d like to deliver big during qualifying and hope he can do ECR proud like VeeKay did last Saturday.
“Both of our cars were fast last weekend, which is great,” said Daly. “I think our cars have a lot of speed here, as well. I know my own journey with the team has probably been a little bit more difficult, but I think we’ve definitely rounded a nice corner for sure recently.
“They’ve done a lot for me personally because I think my style has required a little bit more work with this generation car. I think it’s great,” Daly continued. “I mean, if the team is winning, that’s great. Know what I mean? I think it’s good for Ed, it’s good for all of our partners, it’s good for everyone involved. I would also like to have a trophy, though, too. I think that’s why we keep trying every day, we keep showing up and ready to do the job.”
Carpenter quickly responded — “We’ll get you a trophy.”
No longer Carpenter has to worry about when the drought is going to end. That’s all taken care of, but VeeKay’s victory marked ECR’s first win since Josef Newgarden at Iowa five years ago. Carpenter, who ran 109 laps, knows the difficulty of winning races and spirits couldn’t be much higher right now.
“It does lift everyone up,” said Carpenter. “You don’t get to celebrate the Indy GP as long as you do some other races because we’re just turning the page and getting ready for the 500.
“It makes it easier for the guys that come in to work excited about spending most of their hours out here for the rest of the month, and they deserve it. They’ve done a fantastic job.”
Perhaps the most important thing for Daly after going through such an awful skid that was out of his control is having fun. Showcasing what his No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet can do competitively certainly helps.
“To be fast two days in a row, we want to keep that going,” Daly commented. “I’ve been in the opposite position before where you’re driving around and saving your life all day and you’re like, how on earth am I 28th?
“To be driving around and kind of more towards the sharp end is just a really nice feeling. I’m just really pumped to have the car that we’ve got and the team support that we’ve got right now.”
Practice continues once again tomorrow at IMS. The session once again beings at Noon ET, streaming live on Peacock.