INDIANAPOLIS — Call it back luck Conor again. With Andretti last year and ECR this year but they flip flop in terms of outright pace. Last year was Daly’s big break in the NTT IndyCar Series. No, he didn’t get the full time ride that he’s so rightfully deserved in the series, but he was able to drive in the world’s biggest sporting event with one of the top teams in the sport though.
Daly, drove the No. 25 Honda for Andretti Autosport for the 103rd Running in 2019. The organization had won five Indy 500’s in the past, so being part of their program was huge for him.
The Indiana native was fastest on Fast Friday last year and earned a career best 11th place starting spot. He turned that into a 10th place finish, also a career best here as well.
But, Andretti wasn’t like they are this year last year. They were just solid, but not great.
Now, he’s full time this year but doing so for two different teams. He’s all ovals minus Indy with Carlin but all road/street courses to go along with the Indy 500 with Ed Carpenter Racing. That’s why I feel like despite being with Andretti last year, this could be his best shot at an Indy win this month. He agreed. Here’s why.
“For sure, it’s nice to be in the flow of things,” Daly said on if this is his best shot since he’s had six starts under his belt this year compared to none before Indy last season. “Physically it’s better for the body to kind of be in the race flow which is really cool. I feel better in the car. I feel more prepared. I feel at ease and that’s nice.”
Daly, has been quick so far this week too. He was ninth fastest overall on opening day on Wednesday and fourth on Thursday. Unfortunately, his qualifying trim disturbed his car, which leaves him starting 18th. He’s frustrated by that, but it’s not the end all be all.
“I definitely won’t beat around the bush, they don’t race well,” said Daly of this year’s car with the Aeroscreen. “It’s tough. It’s hard to know if it’s the Aeroscreen that’s making it a little bit worse. Probably because that’s the only difference and only variable.”
Daly, said that part of the reason for this is due to the nature of the pandemic. Normally, we would have had a full day test at the end of April or early May, plus an extra day of on track activity in terms of practice during qualifying week too in order to get a better feel of some changes that could counter that.
“It’s also we’re in a tough situation,” Daly continued. “We would have had a test day here before the Month of May. You would have had some time to evaluate the way things are in a normal circumstance. Unfortunately, we’re not. We’ve just had to get here and kind of roll with it. It is what it is.
“It’s going to be strategic and you have to qualify well.”
While he isn’t starting well, his car and the Chevy’s in general look good in traffic. He could end up moving his way to the front by the end of the race on Aug. 23.
Daly deserves this. He’s worked so hard to show what he can do and this is a fantastic opportunity he has in store this month.