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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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Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.