Harding Racing’s Brian Barnhart says that the team is delighted with Conor Daly’s pace at the end of his first day’s work in the team’s car in Toronto.
Daly was 17th-fastest in the second Verizon IndyCar Series practice session; a result that Barnhart said exceeded expectations considering Daly’s street course rustiness, coupled with his unfamiliarity with the 2018 aero package.
“He gave us wonderful feedback and we learned a lot,” Barnhart told RACER. “Real good day, real good start. Conor validated why we’re doing this. We’re very happy with our first day. We got baulked on our fastest lap or we could have been a little higher.
“We’re running shocks, circa 2010, and we just ordered $120,000 worth of news ones that will be here in a week or so but this track is so shock sensitive and that makes Conor’s first day even more impressive.”
Daly, who received a late call-up to replace Gabby Chaves for the weekend as part of a driver evaluation program with an eye on 2019, said that he’d come into the weekend with an open mind.
“I’ve been in these situations before,” he said. “I’ve jumped into multiple different cars last minute, and I’m used to getting into these things pretty quickly. But I’ve known a lot of these guys since I was an infant. I’ve been in this paddock for a very long time, so I’m very familiar with a lot of the guys, so it’s a great group of people.
“I think every weekend they’re learning. We don’t have data to look at from last year, right, so what are we looking at before the session? Not a lot.
“It’s just step-by-step progress, and the fact that we were even faster than some people, I think that’s pretty good for us.”