A.J. Foyt Enterprises will have an entirely new driver lineup next season with Conor Daly joining Carlos Munoz on the sidelines going into the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
First reported by RACER.com, Daly also confirmed his exit from the team to NBC Sports Tuesday night, and then on social media Wednesday morning.
“Been in this difficult position before and will get out of it once again. Giving up will never be an option. More moments like this lay ahead,” Daly wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old American has had a roller coaster career but was beginning to gain a full foothold within IndyCar after a solid first full season in 2016 with Dale Coyne Racing where had one podium and several other top-10 finishes, and then rallied late in 2017 with Foyt in a year where the team changed its full driver lineup, engineering staff and engines and manufacturer going into the season. Daly posted the team’s best finish of the year with fifth at Gateway Motorsports Park, although was 18th in the final standings – same as he was in 2016.
Just Tuesday, Daly and friend (and roommate) Alexander Rossi returned back to social media from apparent filming of CBS travel reality competition series “The Amazing Race,” which hasn’t yet been confirmed by CBS or their teams. It’s understood the team progressed rather far in the series when the 30th season of that show debuts.
Unfortunately for Daly, while Rossi is locked into a multi-year deal with Andretti Autosport, he’s now set to begin his own next race to find one of the remaining seats on the grid, despite hints over the last several weeks he was still in the frame at Foyt. A logical landing spot could be the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing on road and street courses, with Carpenter in that car on ovals.
As for Foyt, Tony Kanaan and engineer Eric Cowdin were announced earlier this month and RACER indicated Indy Lights race winner Matheus Leist was the frontrunner to take over Daly’s seat.
Leist, a Brazilian teenager, won three times in a four-race stretch this summer including the Freedom 100 in Indianapolis. But he struggled with inconsistency throughout his rookie season in North America driving for Carlin; that being said, he told NBC Sports as early as Watkins Glen he was working on assembling an IndyCar budget for 2018.
Beyond Leist, there are other drivers have reached out to the Foyt team to inquire about the second seat.