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Conor Daly to race for Carlin at Texas

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Carlin Racing announced today in a press release that Conor Daly will pilot the No. 59 Chevrolet for Carlin Racing in Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (coverage begins at 8pm ET on NBCSN).

Daly replaces Max Chilton, who will sit out the four remaining oval races on this season’s schedule. Chilton will continue to compete for Carlin in all five remaining road/street course races.

“I want to thank everyone at Carlin and Gallagher for the opportunity to get back in a race car at Texas,” Daly said.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Carlin back in 2011 as I started my European racing journey and to now drive for them in the NTT IndyCar Series is pretty special. I look forward to being able to contribute to the team as best I can.”

Texas will mark the second IndyCar start for Daly this season. He finished 10th for Andretti Autosport in last month’s Indianapolis 500.

Carlin has not yet announced who will replace Chilton at Iowa, Pocono and Gateway.

Chilton did not cite an exact reason for stepping away from ovals, but noted INDYCAR’s planned 2020 introduction of a new aero screen for all cars.

“I’m excited and pleased by the outstanding proactive work being done by INDYCAR around driver safety and the innovation of the solution developed in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies that has created a new aero screen,” he said. “The innovative solution will be the most advanced single-seater driver head protection in the world and will be introduced in 2020.

“My focus remains on getting the best possible results for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin crew, and I will be helping the team and Conor in any way I can to that end.”

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.