INDYCAR Photo by Chris Owens
INDYCAR Photo by Chris Owens

Conor Daly back with Andretti Autosport for Laguna Seca

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Conor Daly’s impressive run in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 has earned him another shot in the United States Air Force Honda in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series. Daly will drive the No. 25 entry in the September 22 season finale WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, the team announced Thursday.

Andretti Autosport will run five cars in that race.

“I couldn’t be more excited to get back to my road course routes and take on Laguna Seca with Andretti Autosport and the United States Air Force,” Daly said.  “It’s been incredible to be a part of the team this year carrying the USAF colors and to represent them at the season finale will be very special.  I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do with the USAF this year on and off the track and I can’t wait to get back in the No. 25 car.”

Daly made his sixth Indy 500 start in the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport, qualifying in 11th and finished 10th, his career-best start and finish for the famed 500-mile race.

The second-generation racer holds wins in both Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda (now Indy Pro 2000) series and claimed the 2010 Pro Mazda championship. Daly holds 46 career IndyCar Series starts with 11 top-10 finishes.

“We are thrilled to have Conor, as well as the U.S. Air Force, join us again for the season finale in Laguna Seca,” said Michael Andretti, CEO, Andretti Autosport. “Conor was a great addition during the month of May and being able to continue this great partnership with the Air Force at the series season finale is another special opportunity to show our support and honor the brave men and women serving our Nation.”

The United States Air Force served as Daly’s primary sponsor at the Indianapolis 500 and has been an associate sponsor for Andretti Autosport all season with branding featured across the team’s four full-season entries of Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Zach Veach.

“We were extremely proud of the effort that Conor (Daly) and the entire Andretti Autosport Team put in for the Indianapolis 500,” said Maj Ross McKnight, Chief Air Force National Events Branch. “The activation exceeded all Air Force Recruiting objectives and we are excited to continue that success at Laguna Seca and the IndyCar season finale.”

The season finale for the NTT IndyCar Series will broadcast live Sunday, September 22, on NBC with the green flag dropping at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).