Daly Secures Indy 500 Seat With Coyne/Burns Duo
Unable to maintain a full-time ride in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2018, Conor Daly has at least secured a seat in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing this May.
After parting ways with A.J. Foyt Racing after placing 18th on the final points table for the second consecutive campaign, the son of Indianapolis 500 qualifier and television analyst Derek Daly, has re-joined forces with Dale Coyne Racing for a one-off effort for IndyCar’s signature race. The entry will be supported by Thom Burns Racing, who assisted with Buddy Lazier’s 2015 Brickyard challenge.
Burns has been a part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway history after entering cars for Dominic Dobson from 1991 through 1993. The Lazier Partners Racing conglomerate was the Circle City-based entrepreneur’s first Indy tie-in in over two decades.
Daly’s No. 17 Dallara-Honda, will be sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, the first time since 2009 that the military branch has been featured on a car at Indy. The previous performance was with former IndyCar entrant Dragon Racing and then-rookie of the year candidate Raphael Matos. The deal struck with Burns and Coyne ends a frustrating off-season for the Indiana-native, who was unable to secure the funding necessary to obtain a full year run in 2018.
“Finding money, that’s a lot tougher,” said Daly. “It’s been a crazy six months but I’m just thankful for Dale, Thom Burns, and the U.S. Air Force.”
Although finding a ride has been Daly’s top priority, the popular veteran has continued to increase his own image as a celebrity by participating alongside fellow IndyCar Series regular Alexander Rossi in the most recent season of CBS’ hit reality show, The Amazing Race. The Rossi and Daly-pairing eventually finished fourth out of ten teams, after being eliminated in the next-to-last stage of the event.
Despite showing his biggest IndyCar muscle on road courses so far since his 2013 debut, Daly’s most recent oval track performance netted a fifth-place output at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis, his best showing to date on that type of track layout. A successful qualification would mark the Noblesville, Indiana-based pilot’s fifth go-around at Indy, where he placed 22nd as a rookie in 2013. Even with the initial performance scoring his only survival to the checkered flag so far in IndyCar’s premier showcase, it was also marred by a pair of pit fires that Daly overcame to complete the distance.
The confirmation of Conor Daly represents the third of an expected four-car attack at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May for Dale Coyne Racing. Alongside the Hoosier State star will be Sebastien Bourdais, who returns following a serious crash during qualifications a year ago, and Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time Indy 500 champion Emerson. The team’s fourth pilot is expected to be announced soon.
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