IndyCar

Conor Daly back with Harding for Mid-Ohio

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For the second consecutive race, Conor Daly will join Harding Racing as the driver of their No. 88 Chevrolet for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (July 29 3:00 p.m. ET, CNBC), the team confirmed in an announcement earlier on Tuesday.

Daly, who joined Harding at the Honda Indy Toronto in place of regular driver Gabby Chaves, tested with Harding at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last week – Chaves was also in attendance – and the team elected to go with Daly for another race weekend as they continue to evaluate options ahead of a possible expansion to a two-car effort in the 2019 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Team president Brian Barnhart highlighted the progress Daly and the team made at Toronto as well as what he described as a successful Mid-Ohio test in discussing the decision to stick with Daly for a second race in a row.

“After the progress made during the Toronto race weekend, we had another successful outing in Mid-Ohio with Conor Daly. Based on that and in the interest of continuity and moving forward, we are going to run Conor again this weekend for the Honda Indy 200,” Barnhart explained.

“We still appreciate Gabby’s cooperation and interaction because he is still very much involved with downloads, team debriefs and dialogue. In our search for more information and improvement, this will be our direction for Mid-Ohio, with an eye towards the future.”

Daly finished 13th in his debut with the team at Toronto, and has finishes of sixth and tenth in two previous starts at Mid-Ohio.

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Will Power, Roger Penske collect Indy 500 trophies

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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DETROIT (AP) Last year, Will Power finally broke through and won the Indianapolis 500, so he can cross that accomplishment off the list.

Now 37, Power is reaching an age when it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll keep at it.

“I’m really enjoying my racing. I’ve never been so motivated. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, mentally on the game,” Power said. “I think once you get to this part of your career, you realize that you’re not going to be doing this forever. So you’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to go for it when you’ve got it, because, you know, probably only another five years at maximum, and you’re retired.”

Whenever Power’s career does wind down, his 2018 Indy 500 win will remain a moment to remember. He was in Detroit on Wednesday night with team owner Roger Penske for a ceremony in which they received their “Baby Borg” trophies for winning last year’s race. The Baby Borgs are replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy that honors the Indy 500 winner.

Power finished second at Indy in 2015, and his victory last year made him the race’s first Australian winner. It was Penske’s 17th Indy 500 win as an owner, part of a banner year for him. Penske also won a NASCAR Cup title with driver Joey Logano.

“When you think about 2018, we had 32 race wins, 35 poles. I think we led almost 5,400 laps, with all the series,” Penske said.

On Wednesday, Penske collected another significant trophy, and he’ll be celebrated again in a couple weeks. He’s being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 1.

“It’s amazing that a guy from the north can get into the Hall of Fame in the south,” Penske joked. “No, it’s special. … NASCAR has helped us build our brand over the years, certainly, with the reputation it has, and the notoriety we get, being a NASCAR team owner.”

Penske’s most recent Indy 500 title came courtesy of Power, who long preferred road courses to ovals but certainly looked comfortable at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

“The 500 was one record that he didn’t have, and I think you saw the excitement he and his wife, and the whole team, when he was able to win the race,” Penske said. “He’s probably the best qualifier we’ve ever had, as a road racer, and no question his expertise. He didn’t like ovals to start with, but I think today, he loves racing on ovals.”

Power seems content with all aspects of his racing life at the moment. The aftermath of an Indy 500 victory can be a whirlwind, and it would be understandable for a driver to be weary of it eight months later, but for Power, it’s a new experience.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event for a few months now, to actually get the Baby Borg. You have the face on it – I didn’t realize that, you actually get your own face on it,” Power said. “It makes you realize the significance of the event, when you think about all the things that come with winning the 500.”

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Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister