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Daly oval-best P5 after great drive; tight battle with Kimball

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MADISON, Ill. – Conor Daly put on perhaps the best drive he’s had in his Verizon IndyCar Series career to finish fifth in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline.

Starting 11th, Daly was running strong early before he slid through his pit stall during a sequence of pit stops, which saw his No. 4 ABC Supply Co. Chevrolet plummet down the running order.

From there, the A.J. Foyt Enterprises driver needed to pull off some aggressive moves to work his way back forward, and he did exactly that, especially on the restarts, when he frequently used the outside line to make passes.

“I loved the high lane. I learned from Tomas Scheckter back in the day: Always go high on the restarts. That’s what I went for and it worked on all the restarts,” Daly quipped regarding his restarts.

Daly added that he accepted full responsibility for slipping through his pit stall, highlighting that the slick pit lane simply caught him out.

“I did it to myself. We had a good start, a good first few stints and then I just slid through the box. Really slick pit lane and it was just something that I didn’t catch. But then after that I was determined to get to the front, because I knew the car was good.”

Further, he also had to survive a fierce battle with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball when battling over sixth place, which actually saw the two make contact as they jockeyed for track position.

Daly, as he detailed, was none too happy about how Kimball was defending – or in his view, blocking.

“(Charlie) hit me like twice. It was unbelievable. And he hit (my teammate Carlos Munoz) too – he knocked Carlos nearly into the wall, and he drove into my wing as I was coming underneath him. It was just a shame to see that. Normally I race together quite well with him, but yeah that was just kind of silly,” Daly expressed.

Kimball, for his part, labeled it hard racing, explaining that the contact between the two resulted from them simply fighting over the same real estate.

“I think he was trying to beat me to the bottom. But, just with the draft and the way the Chevy is, he ran into the back of me,” Kimball told NBC Sports of the incident.

Kimball added the nature of the track and the importance of track position, along with Honda’s aero disadvantage on the straightaways, forced drivers to defend aggressively.

“The way we were down the straights and the way the racing was here, you had to do everything you could to keep track position.”

Kimball finished seventh, which was his best oval result of the year, and second best overall (sixth at Road America).

Tony DiZinno contributed to this report from Gateway Motorsports Park

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