To say it’s been an up-and-down season for Conor Daly is quite an understatement.
He reached his goal of taking the green flag at the Indianapolis 500, but his race ended in a crash on lap 115 with Mikhail Aleshin. He brought the IMS crowd to its feet with a pass on Helio Castroneves to take the lead at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and led for 14 laps before finishing sixth in his Dale Coyne Honda. In Detroit, he earned his maiden podium and added another sixth place in Race 2.
But his hard crash at Texas, which injured Josef Newgarden and ended both of their races, was a sobering moment. Luckily for the two drivers – who have been friends off the track for years as their careers have intersected many times – they were both able to walk away and continue on.
“Oddly enough, the amount of years we’ve raced together we’ve never ever crashed together, and we’ve raced together hundreds of times,” Daly told NBCSN. “[The Texas crash] sucked. I went to see him as soon as I could, and as soon as I went to see him he said, “Yeah I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go.’ I knew if he could physically do it he was gonna do it. It’s really good to see him back in the car.
“Obviously the Texas thing is not ideal, but we’re here with a different car, new car. Someone told me without ovals we’d be seventh in points, so I was like that’s kind of exciting.”
Currently 15th in points, Daly was at one point eighth quickest in the first practice at Road America, but his day ended as the slowest car, with his best lap at 1m46.0191s. Teammate Gabby Chaves was not much better; his 1m45.7856s lap was 21st fastest.