Conor Daly enjoyed the ability to “attack the whole time” in Sunday’s appearance with MSR

Spread the love

Conor Daly’s debut, after cutting ties with Ed Carpenter Racing, with Meyer Shank Racing was better than expected.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | James Black

Following Simon Pageanud’s big rolling crash in practice, where he lost his brakes onto the entry into the “China Beach” corner and skated through the gravel trap, rolling the car seven times, he was unable to qualify and race his No. 60 Autonation Meyer Shank Racing. So, the team had to find a quick replacement driver to fill in for the Frenchman.Fortunately, Conor Daly was at the circuit and, as his mother brought his race gear and seat from Indiana, he was allowed to step in.Daly and the team had only Sunday’s warm-up session to test the reserve car, and for the driver to get a little feel for the Honda engine, as he hadn’t driven a Honda-powered car since his outing with Arrow Schmidt Peterson at Portland in 2019.He started the race in last place and the early yellow caused by Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist allowed him to stop, changing his strategy.He ran an alternative strategy, appearing in the top 10 through a great portion of the race. On the last stint, he was one of the drivers that got held up by Benjamin Pedersen, and lost time to the pack ahead.When he passed the No. 55 rookie, Daly could close in and pass his experimented teammate Helio Castroneves and the driver of his former car, Ryan Hunter-Reay. The Indiana-native driver finished his one outing with the team in 20th, giving a great impression to the paddock and fans.“I mean it’s tough man!” said Conor Daly after the race. “Tough to just jump in the race day for sure. But, the car was great. The car was so fast! Just took me the whole first 35-40 laps to really figure out how it drives in traffic, it´s a little bit different to what I’m used to. Enjoyed it. The last two stints were really good.

“It’s just a fact. We just got stuck behind them [Pedersen] and it was really tough and I hadn’t really figured out how to drive the car in traffic yet so, you know, it’s my fault I should have passed him but realistically, it was also one of those things that understanding the differences between Chevy and Honda two on the fly it’s hard.“I just enjoy doing my job. And this team gave me a great car to do the job and the finish doesn’t necessarily show it yet. But, I think the pace, at the end, was really strong. I mean we made up a five-second gap in like five laps. That’s a lot. So, I felt strong in the race and it was just consistent. It’s just nice to feel like you can attack the whole time, that was really cool.“I felt like could drive how I wanted to drive. The team did an amazing job getting me up to speed with only one practice, so I can’t thank them, Mike Shank and Jim Meyer enough for giving me this opportunity.”

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | James Black