Conor Daly confirmed for Indy 500 return, joins Schmidt Peterson

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American rising star Conor Daly will make two returns next month, as he’ll be back with Sam Schmidt’s team for the first time in four years, and more importantly, back in the Indianapolis 500 after a year’s hiatus.

Daly will drive the No. 43 Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – the team’s third car alongside full-season regulars James Hinchcliffe and James Jakes – for the ‘500. A partnership announcement will follow at a later date.

“I am ecstatic to partner with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500,” Daly said in a release. “I have had a great relationship with Sam Schmidt since driving for him in Indy Lights and I’ve always wanted a shot with his Verizon IndyCar Series team. It’s an honor to make my second attempt at running the Indy 500.

Daly finished 22nd in his lone ‘500 start in 2013, driving A.J. Foyt’s second car.

He drove a handful of Indy Lights races with Schmidt in 2011, winning at Long Beach, while also competing in his first season of GP3 competition in Europe.

“Conor raced for our team in Indy Lights in 2011for a partial season before heading off to Europe, so we know what he is capable of. He deserves to be competing in the IndyCar Series full time and we’re honored to be providing this opportunity,” team co-owner Sam Schmidt said.

Daly has been busier and more active at IndyCar rounds this season, driving Honda’s “Fastest Seat in Sports” two-seater car at selected rounds and pounding the pavement with helmet and firesuit at the ready.

That stand-by readiness came in handy when Dale Coyne provided Daly his shot in a one-off drive at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, aboard the team’s No. 18 Honda, for his IndyCar street course debut.

With tree in tow, Robert Wickens is already in the Christmas spirit

Robert Wickens' official Twitter page
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It may be a week before Thanksgiving, but IndyCar driver Robert Wickens is already obviously in a festive Christmas mood.

Wickens took to Twitter and Instagram Wednesday to post a video showing he just gave himself an early yuletide present: a Christmas tree:

“Got myself a tree! I figured it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit! It’s a very real tree and my arms are itchy to prove it!”

He even ended his tweet with a Christmas tree emoji.

And for good measure, Wickens — wearing a winter ski cap with his name on it — and some of the staff at his rehab facility broke into an impromptu version of “Oh, Christmas Tree!”

Check out what Wickens posted and enjoy a little early Christmas cheer sure to put a smile on your face: