So far, Pocono race weekend has been a struggle for Harding Racing. After a race-week call-up for Conor Daly to pilot the No. 88 Chevy, the 26-year-old was only able to run 15 laps in the first practice session before taking the car back to the garage, his fastest time to that point more than three seconds off Max Chilton’s 21st-place time.
“We had an issue this morning that we ended up finding during Practice 1 that restricted our time on track, which is a shame because we really didn’t have a lot of practice time before qualifying,” Daly said. “Luckily, we fixed the issue before practice ended. So, we used qualifying as a test session and I tried to get the best out of it that I could, we did pick up a lot of speed on ourselves from Practice 1.”
While the Harding crew was able to bring the car back for qualifying, Daly’s two-lap average of 208.951mph was over 10.5s slower than pole-sitter Will Power’s 219.942mph. Daly will line up 22nd.
“It’s just another box ticked to trying to work on more grip,” Daly said. “And hopefully, we can run this afternoon to find more speed.”
With Saturday’s afternoon practice washed out due to rain, Daly will have to battle from the back during Sunday’s 200-lap race, which will not have a morning warm-up.
Daly is making his third start with the team after stints at Mid-Ohio and Toronto, where he put in the team’s best finish to date in 13th.