Daly goes from busy IndyCar test to last-minute Rolex 24 drive

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Conor Daly’s week in Florida has been extended through the weekend thanks to a last-minute call from Starworks Motorsport team principal Peter Baron.

The 25-year-old has been added to the lineup of the No. 88 Oreca FLM09 in the Prototype Challenge class for this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Daly joins fellow young star Sean Rayhall, along with race debutante James Dayson, Alex Popow and Scott Mayer. Sebastian Saavedra tested for the team at the Rolex 24 in that car but had not been confirmed for the race.

For Daly, nearly 200 laps of running (he estimated 180 laps) in his No. 4 ABC Supply Co. Chevrolet IndyCar over two days at Sebring International Raceway was the start of his week.

And then he got interrupted as his A.J. Foyt Racing crew was doing a damper change.

“I’m in the pits in-between runs, and I ask my crew to hand me my phone,” Daly told NBC Sports. “I look down and all of a sudden there’s a few messages from Peter asking if I was available to drive. It’s a great opportunity and I figured I’d jump at it.”

Daly has one past Rolex 24 start, with RSR Racing in 2014, and also in the PC class.

His most recent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship experience came in 2015 with Performance Tech Motorsports, running the balance of the season from the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring onwards. Daly impressed many in the paddock with his speed, and will look to capture an elusive first class victory as part of this lineup this weekend – one which would also be overdue and deserved for Baron and his Starworks team.

Daly joins the list of IndyCar drivers racing at this year’s Rolex 24 as well. That list grows to 12 drivers who competed in 2016, and eight who are confirmed for the full season in 2017.

Starworks’ two cars are adorned in special bright colors, which Baron has referred to as “Please Don’t Hit Me Pink” for the No. 8 and “Hey, We’re Right Here Orange” for the No. 88, according to Sportscar365.

The No. 8 car features the lineup of Robert Wickens, Remo Ruscitti, John Falb, Chris Cumming and Ben Keating, the latter of whom is also in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes AMG-GT3 in the GT Daytona class.

Practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona begins at 10:20 a.m. ET this morning.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.