IndyCar driver Conor Daly is looking for a new racing home in the IndyCar ranks for 2017.
But that didn’t stop Daly from attending the opening day of practice for the Formula One United States Grand Prix Friday at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
NBCSN’s Will Buxton had a chance to sit down with Daly, who despite being a free agent for 2017, has a very optimistic outlook that he’ll soon find a new home.
“I’m driving for Red Bull in Formula One next year. They’re going to run a third car,” Daly quipped, somewhat stunning Buxton at first before revealing he was joking.
“No, I’m just focusing on IndyCar,” Daly said. “There’s a couple teams with a lot of open seats. We’re talking to everyone in the business.
“I would have loved to come back with Coyne (Dale Coyne Racing), but there seems to be some different stuff happening there.
“Either way, I love IndyCar, want to be in IndyCar, that’s where my heart is. So whether it’s Foyt, ECR (Ed Carpenter Racing), Andretti, you never know what’s going to happen, so we’ll see.”
But Daly wouldn’t let the F1 angle die altogether. When Buxton asked Daly about having previously tested for Force India, Daly said it’s an unlikely possibility, but still an intriguing one.
“I love Bob (deputy team principal Bob Fernley) and everyone at Force India,” Daly said. “They made my European career happen.
“I actually told them earlier: ‘Hey, Bob, I’m available. I’m ready.’ But I think there’s a few other fish in the sea.”
Daly came in second to Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi as the IndyCar circuit rookie of the year, but he took pride in being named the top overtaking driver of the year in IndyCar in 2016.
“Yeah, I passed 87 cars this year, which was fun because I like racing, so that was quite enjoyable,” Daly said. “We came home with one award this year, so there you go.”
Perhaps the most important question – and Daly reply – was when he was asked if he feels ready to step up in class in IndyCar to a more consistently successful team.
“I think so,” Daly said. “I was really happy with this year. We had a lot of ups and downs and I made some mistakes, but we also had more positives than negatives.
“I’m excited about the future and continue making IndyCar great again and I’m excited about how we can go about doing that.”