Daly Excited for Ovals, Sees Improved Road Program at ECR

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.

Daly Full Time at ECR

Images from ECR

One thing about Indycar- despite a whirlwind of changes, some things stay the same. Ed Carpenter Racing announced this morning that Conor Daly will be back in the 20 car with a new sponsor in 2022. The announcement reads “full time.” Is Ed Carpenter going to just run the Indianapolis 500, a move I have thought was long overdue? According to the release below, Carpenter may race in the non Indy ovals as well.

No driver has worked harder this off season to procure sponsorship than Daly, who lost the US Air Force sponsor deal after last season.

The announcement from ECR:

Conor Daly Elevated to Full-Time Driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Season

(INDIANAPOLIS) January 14, 2022 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today a new partnership with BitNile Holdings, Inc. to serve as primary partner for the No. 20 Chevrolet in a multi-year deal. ECR welcomes back Conor Daly, who will become full-time driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. BitNile will also serve as an associate sponsor on ECR’s second entry, the No. 21 Chevrolet.

BitNile Holdings, Inc. is a diversified holding company specializing in disruptive technologies, including cryptocurrencies and innovations in the field of Decentralized Finance (“DeFi”). BitNile focuses on large-scale crypto mining with energy-efficient, powerful operations strategically located in North America. In addition, they currently operate their own high-density data center. With a mission to simplify the DeFi process for all involved, BitNile invests in technology platforms that provide crypto holders a vehicle to earn interest on their crypto assets.

BitNile Founder and Executive Chairman, Milton “Todd” Ault, III, has spent his entire career investing in undervalued assets and disruptive technologies. He believes joining in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with Ed Carpenter Racing will yield similar rewards. “I’ve been a fan of Indy car racing for a long time, and we are proud to have the opportunity to team up with Ed Carpenter Racing. It’s a natural fit for BitNile to join an Indiana business like Ed’s as we have a number of investments in the Midwest, including our mining facilities,” stated Mr. Ault. “BitNile operates with a ‘Risk On’ philosophy where risk is an integral element if you want to win. Conor Daly and ECR share that mindset, making us in perfect alignment.”

The upcoming season will mark Daly’s return to Ed Carpenter Racing for a third year, though it will be his first as full-time driver of the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet. For the past two years, Daly has split his talents between two teams. For the road and street course events and the Indianapolis 500, Daly raced for ECR; for the remaining oval events, he drove for Carlin. Over the past eight years, the Noblesville, Ind., native has competed in 80 Indy car races. The 2021 Indianapolis 500 proved a career highlight for the hometown favorite as he paced the field for nearly a quarter of the race, leading the most laps of all drivers.

Daly, who turned 30 in December, is thrilled to be a part of BitNile’s very first sponsorship program and introduce the company to motorsports. “Being chosen to represent BitNile is without a doubt one of the most important opportunities of my career. This is an incredible partnership that we look forward to being able to strengthen and grow as we go after race wins together!” Daly continued, “To be able to come back to Ed Carpenter Racing for the full season is incredible. I haven’t had the chance to be with one team for the entire year since 2017, so this is something I am very, very thankful for. I have a lot of faith in ECR and each year we continue to get better together. I couldn’t be more excited to get on track in the BitNile Chevrolet!”

Team owner Ed Carpenter became well-known in the Bitcoin space in 2021 as he welcomed the first decentralized sponsorship in the history of racing. The Bitcoin community supported all necessary on-track activities for ECR’s Bitcoin Chevrolet during the Month of May. Carpenter later spoke at the Bitcoin 2021 conference and continues to be recognized as a paddock leader in the crypto industry. “I am extremely proud to welcome BitNile to the ECR family! It is exciting to be able to expand our team’s involvement in the culture of Bitcoin after running the Bitcoin car last May,” said Carpenter. “We will also represent a few other exciting brands within BitNile Holdings as the year progresses, so there is more to come!”

ECR will continue to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with two full-time entries in 2022. Daly’s season-long teammate is fellow third-year ECR driver Rinus VeeKay, who remains in the No. 21 Chevrolet. Carpenter, a three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner, will join Daly and VeeKay to round out ECR’s three-car program for the 2022 500-mile race. Confirmation of Carpenter’s participation in the three additional oval events may come at a later date.

Always eager to hone his driving talents, Daly returns to dirt track racing this weekend as he competes in the Chili Bowl Nationals today and tomorrow. Next Wednesday, January 19, Daly and Carpenter will be guests on Mr. Ault’s podcast, Risk On. Viewers can watch a live stream from the ECR shop on YouTube at 4 p.m. ET. The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will begin on Sunday, February 27 in the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

About BitNile Holdings, Inc.
BitNile Holdings, Inc. is a diversified holding company pursuing growth by acquiring undervalued businesses and disruptive technologies with a global impact. Through its wholly and majority-owned subsidiaries and strategic investments, BitNile owns and operates a data center at which it mines Bitcoin and provides mission-critical products that support a diverse range of industries, including defense/aerospace, industrial, automotive, telecommunications, medical/biopharma, and textiles. In addition, BitNile extends credit to select entrepreneurial businesses through a licensed lending subsidiary. BitNile Holdings’ headquarters are located at 11411 Southern Highlands Parkway, Suite 240, Las Vegas, NV 89141; http://www.bitnile.com/.

Daly’s Indycar Future Uncertain After USAF Drops Sponsorship

No more Flying Tiger or X-15 tribute cars,. The United States Air Force will not continue their sponsorship with Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing. What does this mean for Daly and ECR? In an ironic twist, without the Air Force the future is up in the air.

The X-15 tribute car

The USAF liveries were some of the best in the 500 field the last couple of years. They will be missed.

The 2021 car, which honored the Tuskegee Airmen, was a fan favorite last May.

Daly says he has other sponsors that he has been developing, but is it enough? Will Carpenter still retain Daly for the number 20 road and street course program?

Daly has an option for a full time ride in NASCAR Trucks. he would still be available for the Indianapolis 500 if he goes that route, but his preference is to stay in Indycar.

Daly’s oval program with Carlin is also in doubt since the team has not announced their Indycar intentions for 2022.

I will have a silly season update later today.

Daly, Rossi Looking for Good Results at Gateway

Indycar photo

Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi both enjoy World Wide Technology Raceway, and they are looking forward to good results Saturday. Both drivers said they enjoy racing there. Rossi is eager to race at the track near St. Louis after his team had a very good test there this year. Rossi is anxious to see how the one day event plays out.

” I love that we’re having the night race again,” Rossi said, “I think that’s critical for short
oval racing. Short oval racing but for the 500 is meant to
be raced at night, easier to follow cars. Everything about it is better. Looking forward to that, having the fans back. Yeah, I think it’s going to be an
interesting kind of experiment for us to do a one-day event.
See how that goes.”

Daly added, ” Yeah, it’s one of my favorite tracks. I
couldn’t tell you why. Ever since our very first test day with
Foyt, where we were quickest, we kind of all looked at
each other, This is weird, not really sure why this is
happening.
I love racing there. Love the way that track challenges us
as drivers and challenges these cars. It will be fun. I’m
just happy to be racing, honestly, which is nice.”

Alexander Rossi photo by Chris Owens, Indycar

Rossi talked about his season and how situations have prevented him from showing better results. the last three races have had mostly better results, and he is confident of a strong finish to the season.

” Yeah, I mean, the pace has been great; it hasn’t really
resulted in much. Obviously with the field now, every small
mistake and issue and mis-step in setup decisions from
session to session has a bigger effect than it used to. It
requires everyone to really be perfect throughout the
weekend.
It is what it is. I think the Indy GP, this past race was good.
Nashville we obviously had good pace, but it didn’t result
in anything. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s all down to some
circumstances ultimately/”

, who isDaly talked about the challenges Romain Grosjean driving his first oval race this season, faces.

“… it’s going to be tough without a doubt. I think when you show
up to, like, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it being your
first oval, there’s so much practice, right? There’s so much
testing. Romain obviously got to test, which is great.
When you’re out there, at Indy when we practice, you get a
lot of traffic, you get kind of a feel for what’s going on.
Realistically there’s so little track time in Gateway, he’s
going to be thrust into a very, very new situation.”

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 is scheduled for a green flag start at 8:40 pm EDT Saturday night.

Daly Has Confidence Heading to Belle Isle

Photo by James Black, Indycar

Conor Daly enjoyed his time off from Indycar, but he is ready to head to Detroit for this weekend’s grand prix on Belle Isle. Daly loves this track, and he has had success here, with a second place and he also led laps at the race which follows the Indianapolis 500.

Daly’s Ed Carpenter Racing had a great May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Rinus VeeKay winning the GMR Grand Prix, placing two cars in the Fast Nine, and Daly leading the most laps in the Indianapolis 500. Team owner Carpenter finished fifth, VeeKay eighth, and Daly 13th after a tire from Graham Rahal’s car damaged the nose of Daly’s car.

Despite losing a chance for the win, Daly remains upbeat and confident as the series heads to the halfway point of the 2021 season this weekend. In a very positive press availability Tuesday, Daly outlined his reason for his optimism.

“It’s one of my favorite tracks, even 2015there in the Arrow machine for Hinch after he had the mix-up with the wall at Indy. That was one of my most fun weekends, still to this day. In the rain, leading the race there up against those guys as a complete and utter rookie. I love the track. Love the race weekend. I think it’s done so well.”Daly believes the team has momentum, not necessarily from just the 500, but from the GMR Grand Prix as well.

“…what I look forward to most is the progress we made at the Indy GP. That’s what I’m most excited about. That is such a short weekend, you get right into oval stuff. We made a lot of progress there. I’m excited to see if we can continue that for another good run at Detroit.”

For the first time in his career, Daly is developing continuity with a team. He thinks that has contributed to his success in 2021.

“I think for years I’ve been talking about creating continuity. I think we see right now what continuity is doing for this whole group, both Rinus and I. We get better. Your goal as a driver is to improve constantly, work with your team to just keep building that pyramid up, keep going.Rinus is doing that. I think I’m doing that. I don’t think we’ve been able to obviously translate to results yet for several things that have been out of our control obviously. But we’re in the fight rather than a lot of the races last year we were nowhere even near the talk of anything. But now we’re putting ourselves up there.”

On the progress ECR has made from 2020 to this season, Daly said,

“Leaps and bounds. Massive, massive amounts of progress. Certainly for me personally because I kind of know, obviously not going to give away everything we’re doing, but I know that Rinus and I drive different cars, very different cars. A lot of the times we just haven’t been able to get what I needed out of it. It’s much easier for Rinus. He’s obviously very, very quick, very, very talented.”

Daly summed up his and the team’s approach for the rest of the season:

“We’re just going to keep going at it every weekend, trying to be the best we can be. I feel really good about myself and my team, yeah. That’s the goal, is to just be happy and be ready to execute every weekend.
I mean, I’ve learned a lot about myself I guess. I think I’ve also tried to do a lot of work on my own brain, which I think has been helpful because a lot of the stuff, when you look at a year going into it, none of this crazy stuff is going to happen, it’s just going to be great, every race is going to be great.All this crazy stuff has happened, and you can’t change your attitude. You have to go into Detroit, It’s going to be great, it’s going to be perfect, we’re going to execute.”

Gossage to Step Down at Texas; ECR Gains May Sponsors

Photo of Eddie Gossage from TMS website

Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway, announced this morning that he will retire after the June 13 NASCAR All-Star race at TMS.

“The timing just feels right after 32 years with the company,” Gossage stated. “The Smith family and Speedway Motorsports changed my life and I will forever be appreciative and grateful.

 “Before my wife Melinda and I chart our next adventure, I’m thankful that I get to come full circle as a promoter with the NASCAR All-Star Race.”

Gossage has been a staunch supporter of Indycar racing at his facility throughout his 25 years as president of the track. There have been disputes with Indycar over dates and sanctioning fees, but Gossage made sure that the open wheel cars made at least one annual appearance in the Lone Star State.

His retirement might affect Indycar’s schedule in the long run. Texas Motor Speedway is the only track in Texas where Indycar races currently.

VeeKay, Daly Have New Sponsors

Today Ed Carpenter Racing unveiled new sponsorship which Conor Daly will run in this weekend’s GMR Grand Prix. MannKind Corporation will be the primary sponsor of the number 20 car for the fifth round of the NTT Indycar Series.

MannKind has developed an insulin product which is inhaled rather than injected. The “Tired of Pricks?” tagline is abit edgy. Try to keep it in context if you can.

From ECR news release

Rinus VeeKay’s number 21 will carry Bitcoin livery in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Carpenter plans to use Bitcoin in his operation. From the news release:

“ECR will also be the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES team to integrate Bitcoin as a payment option for all of its employees. The first decentralized sponsorship in the history of racing will empower not only ECR on the track but the Bitcoin community off. In addition to the No. 21’s black and orange scheme, Bitcoin will be present on ECR’s other Indianapolis 500 entries..”

From ECR website

I’ll be back later with my GMR Grand Prix race preview.

Daly’s 500 Car Honors Tuskegee Airmen

Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing revealed Daly’s car for the Indianapolis 500 this morning. The car is a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. I’m happy to see this squadron recognized at the 500. The car will keep the number 47 that it ran in the 500 last year.

Conor Daly at Barber. Photo-Joe Skibinski, Indycar

The US Air Force posted a video about the Tuskegee Airmen. Copy the link below:

As a homage to the original trailblazers, the Tuskegee Airmen, our newest paint scheme isn’t just a visual cue, but a reminder that great things can happen when we celebrate our differences. https://t.co/Lguc9b5vUS

Daly Quickest Again in Veteran Session

Conor Daly once again had the fastest time in the veterans only session which just comcluded. The veterans took to the track at 10 am following a one hour session for the Rookies and veteran refresher tests.

Pietro Fittipaldi and Cody Ware completed their rookie tests and all refresher tests are complete as well.

A light sprinkle has the track closed at the moment but the sun has returned and cars should be running again soon.

The speed chart from the veteran’s session:

If you are watching on Peacock, please let me know what you think. I’m impressed with the picture resolution.

Back later with a wrap up of today’s action.

Rain Halts Test; Daly Posts Fastest Time

Photo: Rinus VeeKay suffered a broken finger in an accident shortly after the test session began.

Rain halted the open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just before the end of the two hour veterans’ practice period. 21 drivers posted times in the abbreviated session.

Conor Daly has the fastest time at the moment, a lap of 222.714 miles an hour. Ed Carpenter is second at 221.296. Scott Dixon had the third quickest time at 220.575, followed by Arrow McLaren SP teammates Felix Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward. The top five are the only cars with laps above 220 miles an hour.

The practice got off to a slow start when Rinus VeeKay spun in turn 1 just 10 minutes into the session. VeeKay said he was caught by a gust of wind. His left front wheel got into the grass and the car spun into the outside wall. VeeKay suffered a broken finger in the accident.

The rain has stopped and crews have begun to dry the track. Rookie Orientation and Refresher tests will begin when the track is ready. Cody Ware and Pietro Fittipaldi are the only two who need to complete the three phases of the rookie test.

Notes

It is weird getting used to seeing Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya incars that aren’t owned by Team Penske.

James Hinchcliffe hinted in an interview on Peacock that Robert Wickens is planning something “very exciting.” Hinchcliffe stopped short of saying what it is, but said the fans will love it.

Conor Daly is using number 47 for the 500 as he did last year.

I really like the resolution on the Peacock app on my tablet.

The top 10:

147Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevy222.71418
220Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy221.2969
39Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda220.5759
47Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevy220.36016
55Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevy220.23323
610Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda219.96913
726Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda219.8468
827Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda219.64010
912Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy219.63516
1060Jack HarveyMeyer Shank RacingHonda219.5196

I’ll be back with a wrap up after 6 pm.