By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
There were a lot of takeaways from Conor Daly’s video conference, who’s set to kick start his full NTT IndyCar Series campaign Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.
On one side, Daly is ready for the challenge the Genesys 300 will provide due to being a one-day show. Another side will have some emotions due to a difficult time period in the United States.
To start off the 14-round champion trail, Daly won’t be at his main ride at Ed Carpenter Racing, but with Carlin instead which could favor the Noblesville, Indiana native as he has experience with the team at the 1.5-mile oval.
“It is going to be interesting. Obviously I was supposed to start the season with ECR, now I’m starting it with Carlin, then rotating into the ECR car after that,” said Daly during Wednesday’s conference.
“I have to say the same for both teams: it’s incredible to be part of both organizations. I raced with Carlin before, so I know what that situation is like. I haven’t raced for ECR yet. I’m excited to start the journey with those guys because they also have done a fantastic job of welcoming me into the organization. I know they’re ready to go, for sure.”
To add more intrigue, Daly will be “The Lone Ranger” for the Trevor Carlin owned team as the second entry (the No. 31 Chevrolet Felipe Nasr was intended to drive in March before COVID-19 delayed the season) won’t compete in the 200-lap prime time battle.
— Carlin (@CarlinRacing) June 2, 2020
“I think having information and more data, especially when the day is so condensed, that’s super important. And it is a shame to be missing a wing man, per se,” Daly on not having a teammate at Texas.
“But the team is prepared for that. We’re all ready to give it our best effort no matter what. It’s an unprecedented situation, for sure. Everyone says that so often. But racing is a business. We got to do the best job that we can no matter what for the partners that the team has with Gallagher Insurance and everyone else that supports this.”
Both things in mind, it’ll be refreshing for Daly having information to rely on due to running for Carlin last year where he finished 11th, making the trip to Ft. Worth exciting.
“There’s a lot of great guys and girls at that team. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll be the Lone Ranger out there,” said Daly. “We do have information from last year, which is great. For me, I do have a feeling of what this car was like last year. That’s the first time I really ever had that in my career, going back to the same track with the same team.
“There’s obviously a few new things on the car. It will be nice to get back to work with those guys because we know where we want to improve coming off of last year.”
Daly will be running with a heavy hart as former Indiana Hoosier football player and INDYCAR fan Chris Beaty was shot last weekend.
On Monday, Daly tweeted the following story of how Beaty saved his life earlier this year:
We lost an incredible person in Indianapolis over the weekend during the chaos and rioting. The violence has to stop… I wanted to share a couple stories about Chris as he was truly one of the nicest people you could meet. We will miss you @BeatyzWorld pic.twitter.com/YgwYmxvFQj
— Conor Daly (@ConorDaly22) June 1, 2020
Following his tweet, Daly would explain in greater detail what Beaty meant to him and how aware is he about the social unrest impacting the world.
“Obviously what’s going on now is just tough to see no matter who you are, I think. I just wanted to say something because just how good of a person he was. I didn’t want to dive into anything and create any big story about it or anything. I just felt like he deserved some words,” Daly on Beaty’s passing.
“He was out there trying to help protect some people who were getting robbed. It’s incredible to see that level of a person that he was. He definitely deserved the respect that people certainly in Indianapolis are giving him.
“Yeah, it’s a tough situation all across the country. But, yeah, he was a great guy and he’ll definitely be riding with us this weekend. He was a big INDYCAR fan, as well. That’s pretty cool.”
Saturday’s race will air live on NBC beginning at 8:00 pm EST, which Daly hopes it’ll bring a lot of eyeballs into watching the INDYCAR opener.
“It’s our job as drivers to let all of our fans know and all of our social media reach know that, hey, this is going to happen Saturday night,” said Daly. “You better turn on your televisions and you better tell all your friends, their families, everybody’s else’s friend to turn on their televisions because it’s going to be an electric show. It’s going to be a lot of fun to have live racing back in action.”