Conor Daly replaces injured Rocky Moran at Long Beach
The Dale Coyne Racing No. 18 has its third new driver in as many days.
Dale Coyne’s driver merry-go-round has a new horse for the Long Beach course this weekend. During the second practice on Friday, when newly named driver Rocky Moran Jr had a coming together with Carlos Munoz in the first turn of the 11-corner, 1.968-mile Long Beach circuit, the American sustained a broken left thumb.
Three drivers in three days
Coyne was faced with the need to find yet another shoe to occupy the seat of his No. 18 Verizon IndyCar Series entry and turned to Conor Daly, who has experience in an Indy car and on this highly technical circuit.
Daly ran the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 for A.J. Foyt Racing, finishing 22nd. Daly, 23, is the son of retired Formula One and IndyCar Series driver Derek Daly and has extensive experience in both GP2 and GP3, both Formula One feeder series.
He had been driving the Indy Racing Experience two-seater before getting the call to replace Moran Jr, who in turn replaced 2014 Houston race winner Carlos Huertas. Need a flow chart yet?
We’re not here to set the world on fire ... I’ve always wanted to race [an Indy car] on a road course, and especially here at Long Beach.
Daly was circumspect about his opportunity, which came shortly before practice Saturday morning: “It’s a shame to see Rocky break his thumb, but this is why I bring my stuff to the track every week and this is why I’m here and this is why I’m ready,” he said.
“I can’t thank Dale enough for the call, to be able to get out here and do some laps and get in the game. W’ll see what happens, but I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Despite his European experience these past few years, it has been Daly’s stated to desire to race full-time in INDYCAR. He’s been present at most every race, a reminder to team owners that he’s got the desire and the will to compete.
He tested for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with financial assistance from Marco Andretti, who loaned Daly a seat so he could compete here this weekend!
“We’re not here to set the world on fire,” Daly stated. “We’re here to learn. At least I’ve been on the track this weekend (in the two-seater). I should be ready to go and excited for it. I’ve always wanted to race [an Indy car] on a road course, and especially here at Long Beach.”
Daly had the opportunity to get on-track for the pre-qualifying 45-minute practice Saturday morning and turned 21 laps, posting a best of 68.8444 seconds at 102.910 mph. He’ll take part in knockout qualifying at 2PM this afternoon, where he’ll be in the first of two initial qualifying groups.
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