Conor Daly, recently ousted by AJ Foyt Racing, says he is focused on trying to land either the second seat at Dale Coyne Racing, or Ed Carpenter’s #20 car for road and street courses.
The Noblesville, IN. native, who finished third in the 2013 GP3 series, made his IndyCar debut with Foyt’s team that same year at the Indy 500, returned to Europe for a season of GP2 in 2014, filled in for the injured James Hinchcliffe at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in ’15, and landed his first fulltime role in IndyCar in 2016 with Coyne.
Although this partnership, which yielded a podium finish and four other top-six results, ended at the completion of the 2016 season, Dale Coyne recently lost Ed Jones to Chip Ganassi Racing, opening a vacancy at the DCR-Honda squad alongside incumbent ace Sebastien Bourdais.
This, along with Ed Carpenter’s ride in the #20 ECR-Chevrolet for road/street courses, are now the main targets for Daly whose replacement at Foyt’s team is rumored to be Indy Lights race winner Matheus Leist.
Daly told Motorsport.com: “I’ve spoken with both Dale and Ed, and the reality is that either situation would be great. But this late in the offseason, the only seats left are going to require a good chunk of funding.
“My only mission now is to try and bring financial support together and then see what happens.”
Despite neither Harding Racing (which made its first three IndyCar starts in 2017) and the yet-to-debut Carlin Racing firming up their 2018 plans, Daly said that his priority was to land the Coyne ride.
“Dale’s basically starting from square one again,” said the 25-year-old, “and that’s the only fulltime seat left, so that is my priority. It would be huge for me to work with [race engineer] Michael Cannon again, as well. He believes in me.”
Although Daly acknowledged that being American – and from Indiana in particular – might add to his appeal to the notably patriotic Ed Carpenter, he said: “I spoke to Ed about funding from around the state but he’s tried for years to get more local funding. It’s tough no matter who you are or where you’re from.
“Having said that, I’ve only been on this for a week and a half, so you never know what could happen.
“But yeah, Ed is a good dude. I love what he does with his team so it would be a great fit. As usual, it just comes down to the dollars.”
Daly's erstwhile teammate Carlos Munoz, who has also lost his Foyt ride, is looking for a place on an IMSA Prototype team combined with a strong Indy 500 ride.