Photo from Penske Entertainment
Conor Daly returns to Ed Carpenter Racing in an expanded role as a full time driver. Daly will drive the number 20 Bitnile Chevrolet in the 2022 season. He is happy to put his entire focus on one team for the upcoming season. The past two seasons Daly has run the ovals except for the Indianapolis 500 with Carlin Racing.
I asked Him what he is looking forward to in 2022.
“You know what I think the ovals in the car honestly, I love Texas. I love Iowa. The fact that Gateway’s back, the fact that I think maybe I can bring maybe a different perspective to that team as well. Obviously, I’ve been with a different team (for ovals) for the last couple years. So maybe there’s some more information that I can help everyone like Rinus and, you know, Ed as well if he runs; so there’s a lot there that I want to get to. And I think we’ve improved our car on the road courses, but the ovals are a new adventure.”
Expanding on his belief that the team’s road course program has improved, Daly explained,
” I do think so. I think at our Sebring tests, we ran through a lot that we’ve been wanting to try and obviously we don’t get a lot of test days. So we did 160 laps. We got about as many laps in as we could do with the tires that we had. yeah, I feel good. I think we still have work to do, but I think every race we will continue to get better. So we’ll see.”
Daly thinks the continuity of drivers and crew members will also help ECR have a better season.
” I think we we know where our setups differ and we know what we like in the car. So I think that a lot of the stuff we are unifyingly going towards that’s making us better as a group, I think, but there are still small differences that will you know, will be required. I like working with these guys. And you know, my engineer, Pete, kind of knows what I want. So it’s nice to be able to have that and it feels like we’re in a better spot already than we were last year.”
What does need to do to move into the front part of the grid, given the talent and resources of the larger teams?
“We just got to be perfect. Gotta be perfect. And honestly, the funniest thing is like even though it is tough. There’s so many good drivers. Totally crazy stuff happens. There’s always going to be some wild podium that you never expected and you know, you want to be able to take advantage of every possible opportunity.”
Postscript: The ECR team had mixed results this weekend, but there were signs of improvement. Daly qualified 20th and finished 21st Sunday. His teammate, Rinus VeeKay, started fourth, led 13 laps, and finished sixth.