INDYCAR: Conor Daly to fill in for Gabby Chaves in Sunday’s race at Toronto

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Harding Racing on Tuesday announced that Conor Daly will drive for the team in Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.

The second-year team (Harding ran three races in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season) will have the 26-year-old Daly in the No. 88 Chevrolet-powered Dallara for the annual race on the streets of Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.

Daly will be replacing Gabby Chaves in the race in a one-off appearance, but also with an eye toward next season as well.

“At this point in the season, we are focusing all our attention on the 2019 season,” Harding Racing team president Brian Barnhart said in a media release. “If we can expand to a two-car team, all remaining races and testing will offer driver evaluation opportunities to determine who will become Gabby’s teammate in 2019.

“Gabby is still fully employed and still under contract with Harding for the remainder of this year and in 2019.”

Chaves has qualified for all of the first 11 races on the 17-race 2018 IndyCar schedule. His best start has been eighth at St. Petersburg, with his best finish being 14th (at both St. Petersburg and in the Indy 500). In three outings with Harding in 2017, Chaves scored a best finish of fifth at Texas Motor Speedway – Chaves and Harding also finished ninth at the Indianapolis 500 last year.

The Toronto race will be Daly’s second appearance on the IndyCar circuit this season. He started 33rd and finished 21st in the Indianapolis 500 for Dale Coyne Racing.

This will be Daly’s fourth career start at Toronto, with his best finish being 12th in 2015.

Overall, Daly has 40 starts in his IndyCar career with one podium finish.

Sunday’s race will be televised live on NBCSN, with the green flag slated to fall at 3:42 p.m. ET.

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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”