Today’s announcement of Conor Daly getting the road/street course seat in the number 20 car was the most positive driver news of the past seven weeks. It has been an off season of seismic changes in the NTT Indycar Series paddock. What a great feeling to see the news and smile instead of thinking “What?” Here are some of my thoughts about what this could mean for Daly and the series.
I can’t think of a better fit at ECR than Conor Daly. Both he and Ed have very strong ties to IMS and the series. The move strengthens ECR as Indycar’s ambassador team.
2020 will be the first year since 2017 that Daly will drive for just one team. He drove for multiple teams in 2015, 2018, and 2019.
I’m very happy the Air Force continues with Daly. They could not have picked a better representative.
We can call car 20 the Indiana car.
I hope Ed Carpenter will allow Daly to drive in other series as his schedule allows. He had success in the Super Trofeo Series last year. Daly is willing to drive anything; I hope gets the opportunity.
I could see Daly at ECR for a few years. Next season may be a getting acquainted period, but it will be interesting to track Daly’s performance compared to Ed Jones’s and Jordan King’s in comparable events.
Daly should be a huge help to Rinus VeeKay in his rookie year in Indycar.
I have seen Daly drive in several series. It seems as the car he is in always improves when he drives it. The road/street course help he can give this team will be invaluable.
Daly may have an even better chance at the 500 in 2020 than he had last season at Andretti. He will get more attention at ECR since it’s a smaller team. Also, the team is really good at IMS.
Wild conjecture on my part: Is this hire a part of Carpenter’s succession plan? Is Ed contemplating giving up the ovals other than Indy in a year or two and letting Conor drive full time?
If nothing else breaks, I will be back Thursday with annual (okay first annual) podcast edition.
Photo: Daly’s US Air Force livery from last year
From Ed Carpenter Racing:
This is a great spot for Daly. I’m glad the Air Force is still on board. I hope they keep the same livery he had last year. ECR should give him a decent shot at contending at the 500. More thoughts later.
Good news this week about the Long Beach Grand Prix. The Los Angeles Angels baseball team announced an agreement to remain in Anaheim through 2050. A major portion of the track was considered for a new stadium for the Angels after their current stadium contract with Anaheim expires at the end of 2020. A baseball stadium would significantly impact the Grand Prix. The Acura Grand Prix is the second longest running event on the NTT Indycar Series calendar. 2020 will be the 45th running of a race on the streets of Long Beach.
The Indycar race has fought off other attacks in the past few years. The city council considered proposals to return the event to an F1 race. That idea was voted down. The race is safe for the next thirty years. I wonder if the Angels were simply using the exploration of Long Beach as leverage to get a better deal from Anaheim.
The Formula 5000 Drivers Association will have three Revival Races in 2020, at Road America, Watkins Glen, and Circuit of the Americas. This sounds like something worth an extra trip to Road America for me. Full information is in the link below:
Formula 5000 ran from 1967-1976 with 5 liter V-8 engines. Originally under SCCA sanction, USAC joined the Sports Car group in sanctioning the series. The sound of these cars was amazing. If one of these events is near you, I encourage you to attend.
Fred Watch, Part III?
Fernando Alonso has confirmed he will enter the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500. He is still uncertain which team he will drive for. The decision will be between Andretti and Arrow McLaren SP. I see a possible issue with each team. Will Honda allow Alonso to drive for Andretti? In 2019 Alonso failed to qualify for the race with McLaren. While the team appears to be in better shape than last year. However, James Hinchcliffe barely made the race last year after missing the 2019 500.
Alonso will not announce which team he will be with until after the Dakar Rally in January.
Back next week with more observations and a special post recognizing some podcasts.
The news spread through Indianapolis and the racing world like a strong Autumn wind, shaking all branches of the sport and sending chills through fans of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Follow this link to the story.
I will write my thoughts later. I wanted to put out some photos. The screen looks a lot higher as you look at the car head on than it does from the side. It still gives the car a bit of an LMP2 look.
More after the cars are on track.