Daly to Drive Car 59 at Texas

Photo from @CarlinRacing via Twitter

Yesterday Carlin Racing announced that Conor Daly will drive car 59 at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, replacing Max Chilton. Chilton, who failed to qualify for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 last month, will not drive in any of the four remaining  oval races- Texas, Iowa, Pocono, or Gateway- this season, citing “risk management”concerns.

Daly drove for Andretti Autosport in the 500, qualifying 11th and finishing 10th. As of now, this is a one race deal with Carlin. Drivers for the other ovals will be announced later.

The Texas entry list:

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I believe it is a driver’s right to choose which races he wishes to enter.  Like Mike Conway, Chilton feels that ovals are not worth the risk to him.  I respect his decision to step out of the car for these races.

 

 

Fast Friday Wrap-Up

Above: The Spirit of Indy. Kyle Kaiser consoled r after his crash this morning. Thanks to @Breakinfree086 for sharing the photo.

The Sunday rain contingency plan:  The last row shootout will run on the next available track day if the day is rained out. The first three rows will be set by Saturday’s times. No fast Nine Shootout will occur. This would make Saturday a true Pole Day, as it should be.

Just as happy hour began, Graham Rahal brushed the wall in turn two. He returned to the pits and the car went back to the garage to assess the damage. The right side tires had scuff marks on the sidewalls. Graham said in an interview they had lost some speed.

Juncos Racing is hard at work putting a car together. At least 20 crew member are assembling separate parts as they need to be on track for tomorrow morning’s practice.

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The speeds as of 5:35:

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Fastest Driver of the Day

 

Some Takes From Owners on Guaranteed Spots

This morning Team Penske, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and Chip Ganassi Racing owners and drivers addressed the media in separate sessions.  The question of guaranteed spots was asked of each owner. Their response:

Roger Penske- “If the people who invest in the sport and qare Building the sport today to where it is, I think we have great momentum from the press, from our TV partners, to commit to the full season, not have an opportunity to race here.. if you’re going to commit and run the whole season, you should have an opportunity to run in  this race.”

Bobby Rahal- ” Ithink it’s amazing that we’re in the situation we are now, where we have more than the 33 entries…. personally i think it should be the way it’s always about, that the fastest 33 and that’s it… I think that (gauranteed spots) is loyal to the history of the Speedway and the history of the 500. I think it is the way it should be.”

Chip Ganassi-” My position is it should be the fastest 33. I’m not saying it’s not going to be that. there is a scenario where it won’t be the fastest 33. I just think that’s not right. It should be the fastest 33… If it’s not the fastest 33, then the full season participants should have some guarantee.”

Mike Hull had the most interesting comment of the morning:

“…for this race they ought to give us an extra engine and we should go faster.”

He went on to say that the only way speed come back is for engine power to go up.

 

Conor Daly set the fastest time of the day with three minutes left. His speed was 231.704. During the press conference he found out he will be the first driver out for qualifying tomorrow. The first hour is key to fast speeds. Those drivers whose turns come from about 12:30 to 5 will have a tough time in the heat of the day. the last 90 minutes should be a real scramble.

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Conor Daly set fast time of the day at 5:57 pm

Back tomorrow morning to set the stage. I will update after every 15 qualifiers.

 

 

 

 

Daly, Andretti Reveal Car 25

Conor Daly and Michael Andretti revealed the car Daly will drive in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. The car is mostly matte black, touches of blue and hits of various fighter jets. I really like the shark’s teeth behind the front wheel.

Daly’s entry completes a five car all American lineup for Andretti Autosport. All five cars will carry Air Force labels.

“It’s been a dream of mine to drive for this team for a long time,” Daly said. Getting to practice tomorrow is “a huge benefit. Tomorrow is day 1,” Daly added.

The unveiling also give those in attendance their first look at the Advanced Frontal protection device which will be on the cars tomorrow and for the 500. The piece is taller than i thought it was. It is very thin. The device does not appear as if it will obscure the drivers’ vision.

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The front view shows the AFP device just in front of the cockpit. I asked Daly how he thought the device would bother the vision. He said he wasn’t sure. The device is on the simulator, but he wants to see what it’s like when he actually drives the car.

A closer look at the AFP

Tomorrow’s test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway begins with veterans on track from 11-1, followed by rookie orientation between 1 and 3. The final round of testing begins at 3 and goes until 6. The turn 2 mounds will be open for spectators. the test is also live streamed on Indycar’s Facebook page.

The Pit Window will have updates after each session and a full wrap-up on Wildfire Sports Thursday morning.

Daly, Air Force Join Andretti for Indy 500

Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Conor Daly will drive a fifth car with sponsorship from the U. S. Air Force in the103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. The Air Force will also be an associate sponsor on the  Andretti cars of Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, and Zach Veach for the entire season. Daly will carry number 25.

Daly drove in the 2018 500 with Air Force sponsorship as part of Dale Coyne’s team. He started last and finished 21st, completing 199 laps. This will be Daly’s sixth 500. His rookie season was 2013. He returned to the 500 in 2015. His best starting spot was 22nd in 2015. Last year was his best finish and also the race in which he completed the most laps. This is the best car and team Daly will have had for the race.

“It’s my best shot at at the race ever. I can’t wait to get to work,” Daly said.

Michael Andretti said they are working on a few things to possibly get Daly in more races this year. He has no plans to add a sixth ca for this year’s 500 entry list.

Daly drove in just one race, Mid Ohio, for Harding. He was competitive, giving Harding its best starting spot to that point.  He ran well in the race but ran out fuel with two laps left and finished 20th. In2017 Daly drove full time for A. J. Foyt Racing.

Catching Up with Indycar News

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Vasser Sullivan and Dale Coyne have signed a multi year agreement which has Sebastien Bourdais staying in car 18.  Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan became a partnership last year. Nice to see Coyne will have some driver stability and additional resources. Bourdais won the 2018 opening race in St. Pete. It was his second consecutive win in his hometown race.

More Boost at Iowa, Gateway

The NTT Indycar Series announced cars will receive increased boost at short ovals Iowa and Gateway in 2019. The higher boost will necessitate more braking in the turns, which should allow more passing. The boost will increase to 150 kPa, the same as on road and street courses. In 2018 cars were allowed 140 kPa on the short ovals. Superspeedway boost for races is 130Pa. Please do not ask me what kPa means.

Allen Miller of HPD says the goal of 90 horsepower for the new 2.4 liter engine is “very realistic.”

The series continues to seek more ways to improve the racing.  This measure sounds like a bridge to the higher horsepower in the 2021 formula.

Helio at Le Mans?

Three timne Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves is close to finalizing a deal to drive in the Le Mans 24 hour race this year. Castroneves, who now drives full time for Team Penske Acura in the IMSA Weather Tech Championship, will drive for the RLR group in the LMP2 class. The team uses an Oreca 07 chassis, which has been dominant in Europe.

Castroneves was one of the drivers in the third place car at last weekend’s Rolex 24.

Indianapolis 500 Ticket Unveiled

Last Indianapolis Motor Speedway revealed the design for the 2019 Indianapolis 500. I’m always excited to see the new ticket. This year’s design I find disappointing. The photo of Will Power that was used is okay, but a photo of him when he first go out of the car would have been better. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a driver express that much unbridled joy after winning.

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Rolex 24 Post Script

I’ll end today with four photos from last weekend’s Rolex 24

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This pretty much sums up Sunday morning.

 

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Just Announced

Indianapolis Motor Speedway  just announced a press conference tomorrow  afternoon for a major announcement regarding the 500. I’m guessing a presenting sponsor will be named.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Thoughts on Mid Ohio

I am so impressed with the drivers that have come into the series the last three years. It was an impressive win for Alexander Rossi, and a good drive to second for Robert Wickens.

Rossi’s fuel saving drive was Dixon-like.

Scott Dixon is now 46 points ahead of Rossi, who leaps to second. Rossi expressed confidence he has time to take the lead.

Disappointed to see Max Chilton not take advantage of his sixth place starting spot.

Conor Daly ran another good race for Harding. A shame he ran out of fuel on the last lap. If a team needs to develop a car, Daly is the driver they want.

The attendance was the best I’ve seen at Mid Ohio since my first year there in 2008.

Sebastien Bourdais put on quite a show coming from last to a top ten on a track where passing is difficult. Not many of his position gains were in the pits.

Dixon did what he needed to do, hang close and get another top 5.

The cloudy skies and cooler temperatures allowed more grip contributing to the surprisingly caution free race..

My more detailed race report will be up no later than tomorrow morning on

wildfireradiosports.com

 

 

Conor Daly Talks to a Couple of Fast Girls

Between practie sessions, Conor Daly took a few minutes to speak to members of the Indycar Nation Fan Club. Fast Cars Fast Girls, who broadcast a weekly podcast, conducted the interview. They are doing a series of interviews for Indycar Nation this month. Conor discussed what it takes to be a racer, influential people in his life, and his best moment on track.

Conor said he is most excited to get on track. “It’s really tough for an Indy one off team,” he said. He hopes to be out later today. It was evident from his tone that he is eager to begin preparations for the race. Practice for veterans resumes at 3 pm today.

As for his best moment in racing, “Passing Helio for the lead in the Indycar Grand Prix a couple years ago,” he answered quickly. He was proud of the way he got in a position to overtake Castroneves.

Daly said his father, Derek, taught him that to race you must be passionate, put everything you have into the sport. His father never pushed him to race, but supported his efforts. Derek is less hands on than he used to  be, Conor said. He is fine with that arrangement.

He talked a bit how difficult the business side of racing is. He dislikes that part of the sport. He has had a lot of deals fall through at the last minute. In spite of his funding difficulties, He has found someone who has helped him get rides and continues to aid him today. Paul Sparta, a successful businessman, helped him get a Formula 2 ride in Europe and helped with his current deal for the 500.

About his Xfinity ride at Road America later this summer, Daly said he has had an association with  Lilly Diabetes since 2016 when they helped sponsor his 500 ride. “I will drive anything,” he said. he has never driven a stock car. and he is looking forward to the opportunity. Even though he has just the two drives this season, Dalynismcontent with his current situation.

The Fast Cars Fast Girls podcast featuring Abby and Molly is produced weekly. They have a great feature on women in racing each week and a history segment. Their podcasts can be found on Podbean.

Indycar News and Notes- Coyne Again Searching for Drivers

With activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginninjg this Friday, Dale Coyne finds himself in a familiar position- looking for a driver or drivers to fill a seat vacated by an injured driver. Pietro Fittipaldi was slated to drive the number 19 car in both the Indycar Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. He was injured in a severe crash Saturday preparing for the 6 hours  WEC race at Spa. Fittpaldi injured both legs, including a complex fracture of the left leg. He underwent successful surgery and will be out at least eight weeks. Fittipaldi will also miss his scheduled start at Texas in June. The projected recovery time could allow him to drive his next assignment at mid Ohio in late July.

The scenario is a familiar one for Coyne. Last year Sebastien Bourdais fractured his pelvis in a qualifying crash at Indianapolis. James Davison filled in for Bourdais fort he 500. Coyne than had other drivers drive the number 18 until Bourdais returned for Watkins Glen. Tristan Vautier, one of last year’s subs, is under consideration to take Fittpaldi’s ride.

Other drivers thought to be in contention are Zachary Claman DeMelo, who shares the 19 with Fittipaldi and has ties to the car’s sponsor, Paysafe; and Ryan Briscoe. Practice and qualifying for the Indycar Grand Prix is Friday, so a decision should come quickly.

Entry List for the 102nd Indianapolis 500

The official entry list is out. Thirty-five cars have entered to attempt to get one of the thirty-three spots for the race. Buddy Lazier is not one of the entries. The field includes six former winners. Four of the five past champions are entered. With Fittipaldi out there are now three rookies in the field: Robert Wickens, Matheus Leist, and Kyle Kaiser. Helio Castroneves will drive in both the Indycar grand Prix and the 500. These are scheduled to be his only Indycar appearances  this season. Danica Patrick returns to the 500 for the first time since 2011. The 500 will be the final race of her career. The entry list appears at the end of this post.

Donuts for Daly

Jack’s Donuts has signed on to support Conor Daly’s Indanapolis 500 ride with Thom Burns Racing. Look for promotions during the month @ConorDaly22, @ThomBurns Racing and @jacksdonuts. If Conor is involved, it should be fun.

Bump Tales

Thursday the second part of “Bump Tales” appears. It is a tale of just how humbling Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be.

Castroneves, Taylor win IMSA race at Mid Ohio

The Team Penske Acura driven by Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor won the IMSA race at Mid Ohio Sunday. The race marked the return of sportscar racing to the track. The former American LeMans Series used to run the same weekend as Indycar, making for a tremendous weekend of racing. The IMSA/Indycar is a doubleheader that needs to return.

This was Team Penske’s first victory in the Weather Tech Series.

Entry List

Here is a link to the Entry List for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

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I will also be back with a preview of the Indycar Grand Prix on Friday.