Conor Daly hinted during last week’s NTT INDYCAR Series media days that a potential NASCAR opportunity could be coming. That deal was now confirmed.
Daly will attempt to make this months’ Daytona 500 with The Money Team in the No. 50 Chevrolet. On top of that, BitNile is trying to make it work for Daly to run upwards of seven Cup events this season. That’s in addition to his INDYCAR duties with Ed Carpenter Racing too.
Daly made his Cup Series debut last Fall on the Charlotte ROVAL.
The Money Team made their NASCAR debut in last year’s race with Kaz Grala. The Massachusetts native raced his way into the big show. That’s the same team Daly made his debut for in Charlotte. This offseason, there were rumors that Helio Castroneves could end up in that very car for this year’s Daytona 500.
See, the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion said that he had a deal with Don Hawk that if he could win an SRX race then Hawk would find Castroneves at Daytona 500 opportunity.
Hawk was true to his word. He was trying. The most logical fit was with the Trackhouse Project91 car. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get that car as a viable option for Daytona. That ride won’t be in Daytona this month.
The Money Team with Floyd Mayweather looked the most promising, but Castroneves said that the opportunity will have to wait since the team doesn’t have a charter and with the 47-year-old never having raced a stock car before, let alone at Daytona, and having to race his way in, it didn’t make much sense this year to do so.
In comes Daly.
“Great question (laughter). I mean, I didn’t know anything about that until recently. Who knows what will happen in the next couple days or weeks, I guess. Is it February yet,” Daly said on Wednesday of last week about his Daytona aspirations.
“Well, if that opportunity were to come up, I chatted with a young man by the name of Helio Castroneves earlier, and I think for him an opportunity like that could probably come about really anytime. But for me, I don’t know if an opportunity like that would come again.
“I have done a lot in my life by, you know what, if there is a chance to do it, might as well do it. So who knows what might happen. But if there is a chance, I feel like I can’t not do it, or not try to do it at least.”
Daly has made 97 career INDYCAR starts as this May will also be his 10th Indy 500.
“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to attempt to run in the Daytona 500,” Daly said in a statement. “It is the most prestigious race in NASCAR and to have the chance to compete in it is truly an honor. I am also excited to be running the entire IndyCar Series season and select NASCAR Cup events. I am looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get behind the wheel of whatever BITNILE.com race car, boat, dune buggy or vehicle they ask me to drive. Bring it on.”
2023 will serve as Daly’s nith season in the series. A lot of those have been part-time, but several have all seen him race a full slate. However, the 2022 and 2023 seasons will mark the first time of his racing career that he’s driven full-time for the same team in back-to-back years.
In 2009, he ran Star Mazda for Andersen Racing. A year later, he came back to the series but with Juncos. For 2011, he ran part-time in Indy Lights for Sam Schmidt. He also ran full-time in GP3 overseas for Carlin. He remained in that series for 2012 but with Lotus. A year later, he came to GP3 for a third season but this time with ART Grand Prix. He also that season came back to run the Indy 500 with Foyt and an Indy Lights race with Team Moore.
2014 he was in GP2 with Venezuela GP Lazarus. 2015 he came back home to run part-time for Coyne as well as for Schmidt. That allowed a full season with DCR in 2016. In 2017 he ran full time for Foyt. 2018 was back part-time for DCR/Thom Burns as well as Harding. 2019 saw him race for Andretti, Carlin and Schmidt. 2020 and 2021 was still part-time roles with Carlin and ECR. 2022 led him back full-time with a singular team at ECR. He’s back in 2023.
“Well, it feels great for me, honestly, to have that environment to be in,” said Daly. “Last year there were several tracks that we went to as a team for the first time. You’re right, we now get to go back to places like Iowa, St. Louis, together for the second time.
“That’s awesome because I think we had great qualifying efforts at Iowa, for sure, and I loved where we were going in the St. Louis race until we ran into some issues there. I think there’s a lot of really cool stuff that we all got to experience really together for the first time.
“There’s a lot of really exciting stuff ahead.”
Stability is what he has now and it’s amazing what one can do with it.