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.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.