By Conor Daly, Verizon IndyCar Series Driver
Well, the last two races certainly didn’t go the way we wanted them to. We have the race pace which is encouraging, and the team is making progress, but the results are just not there for us and to be honest it can get a little frustrating. That said, we’re going to keep on fighting and at some point it will all come together for us.
I really looked forward to going to Long Beach. It’s one of my favorite places and races. I absolutely love California. I arrived a couple days early to meet up with some friends before the craziness of race weekend got underway. It was a pretty busy weekend between on track action and interview requests, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Once again, we made progress in qualifying and I came so close to making it into the Fast 12. I was only off by less than 0.05 seconds! That’s how close it is in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The same thing happened to me during qualifying at Barber, we were, again, 0.05 seconds from making it to the next round. I keep finding myself on the wrong end! There are a few things I need to work on, but we’ll get there.
The Long Beach race was disappointing. I felt like I passed quite a few cars on track and when my engineer told me at the end of the race where we had finished, the same position where we had started, I couldn’t believe it to be honest. It was one of those uneventful races where everybody was saving fuel like crazy.
That said, it was still a tough race though. It went green all the way, which that in itself is incredible. I had never experienced that before in an IndyCar race. With all the cars running similar lap times, strategy comes into play quite a bit in trying to get to the front, but with no full course cautions, you can’t really play that game.
Who would’ve thought we’d have another race without any cautions again at Barber Motorsports Park the following week! Aside from the first two laps that were under yellow, when they waived the start, it was green all the way.
Barber was another difficult race. I think I left some speed on the table in qualifying. It was a tough place for my driving style, it was hard for me to maximize speed there. I’m still learning but it’s also encouraging, in a way, when you have drivers like Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Juan Montoya at the back of the grid with you. It goes to show how competitive this Series is.
The start was pretty bad. I’d really like to see standing starts at the road course races. I had to jump out of the way on the second start to avoid causing a stack up and lost some positions. It was pretty much tough from then on. Again, it’s all a learning experience and, in the end, any track time you can get, is good track time, it’s all about gaining that experience.
I know I received a lot of criticism on social media during that race, for not getting out of the way when the leader, Simon Pagenaud, was behind me. I was playing by the rules. You have a right to fight to stay on the lead lap and hope for a caution to get back into the mix of things.
The last couple of weeks were not all about racing though. Before the Barber Motorsports Park race weekend, I was able to do another fun activity. Honda organized a morning at Space Camp in Huntsville, AL for myself and Alexander Rossi. I had a blast! After meeting with Space Camp students, we were able to experience a little bit of space. We dressed up in astronaut suits and simulated floating in space. We also sat in the multi-axis trainer which replicates tumbling in space, that was pretty crazy! It was a great experience. I’ve always wanted to go to space. I think this may be the closest I get!
Next up is the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and, finally, the one race we’re all waiting for, the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. I can’t wait for activities to get underway at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to tell you all about it.
Until next time.
Image: Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR