Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Conor Daly hopeful part-time ‘auditions’ turn into full-time 2020 ride

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MONTEREY, Calif – Fans who follow the NTT IndyCar Series know very well that the series is one of the most competitive racing circuits in the world on the track, but some may not know the challenges drivers face outside of the track.

For some drivers, simply finding the opportunity to race in the series can be difficult, especially on a full-time basis.

Conor Daly knows this all too well. Daly remains a fan favorite, but since losing his full-time ride with A.J. Foyt Racing following the 2017 season, he has competed in IndyCar on a part-time basis – something he hopes to change soon. 

“For me, it’s always a fight to be back full time,” Daly told NBC Sports. “It’s always a pressure-packed situation.

“People are always looking for some sort of special result, but it’s very hard to do that as a one-off entry or a substitute entry. We’re just trying to make the best of it. I think it’s gone really well so far this year.

Chris Owens/IndyCar

Sunday’s season finale at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca will mark Daly’s seventh and final start of 2019. After finishing tenth at the Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport in what was supposed to be Daly’s lone start this season, the 27-year-old was able to catch a few more opportunities to race this season. 

The first team to offer Daly addtional starts this season was Carlin.

“It was really just an interesting situation with Carlin because Max Chilton pulled out of doing the ovals – which is a respectable decision,” Daly told NBC Sports. “I guess I was just that next man up.”

Then came an offer to return to Andretti for the season finale, as well as the offer from Arrow Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports to fill in for Marcus Ericsson at Portland International Raceway three weeks ago. All in all, Daly has been provided with the opportunity to run seven races between three teams this season.

Not bad for a driver who began 2019 expecting to run only the Indy 500.

“Honestly, any time you can drive an Indy car, you’re a lucky human being,” Daly said. “This is the top level of motorsport across the world.

“There’s 22-24 full-time cars [in IndyCar], and there’s 7 billion people in the world. To be one of those guys is really special.”

During his partial schedule, Daly has put together several more respectful runs. He finished 10th at Indy and finished no worse than 13th in all four of his starts with Carlin. Daly also looked as if he’d run well at Portland, though he was collected in a crash on Lap 1.

Daly has used these opportunities to audition for a full-time ride next season and has kept his fingers crossed that his auditions will pay off soon. He is hopeful of an announcement in the near future. 

“I think this year has elevated our stock for sure,” Daly said. “I know that there’s potentially one seat available with the Arrow SPM team, which would be awesome, but there’s also probably a hundred people that would also love that seat.

“All I can do is try and help the Air Force figure out where we want to be next year if we can continue that program. But we know that is very Indy 500 focused. I think there’s a lot of positive stuff happening and depending on how this weekend goes we’ll be able to know for sure next week.”

Steve McQueen’s famous Porsche 917K displayed in new museum

Photo courtesy of the Brumos Collection
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One of the most famous race cars in film history will be featured in a new automotive museum in Florida.

The legendary Porsche 917K driven by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film ‘Le Mans’, which was last seen in 2017 when it sold for $14 million in an auction, will be one of the prominent pieces in the Brumos Collection, a new automotive museum in Jacksonville.

Widely considered the most famous Porsche 917 ever built, the historic race car initially was used for Le Mans testing before being featured in the McQueen film. The car was housed in a barn for more than two decades before re-emerging fully restored in 2001.

The car was unveiled as the newest member of the Brumos Collection during a special event signifying the museum’s grand opening on Monday.

With more than three dozen vehicles, the Brumos Collection provides museum guests an up-front look at racing and automotive history.

Notable race cars in the collection include:

  • 1968 Porsche 908: In the second track appearance ever for Porsche’s then-new 908, drivers Jo Siffert and Vic Elford tackled the notorious Nürburgring’s 1000 km in this yet-unproven model. Starting in the 27th position, Siffert guided the 908 to second at the end of the first lap and into the overall lead after the second lap, setting a lap record. This historic 908 persevered through a grueling 44 laps around Nürburgring’s 14-mile course, skillfully navigating a 1000-foot elevation change and 160 turns through the forest.
  • 1979 Porsche 935: This #59 Brumos Porsche 935 is shown exactly as it raced when it won the 1979 IMSA Championship with Peter Gregg behind the wheel. It is authentic in every detail, down to his distinctive tartan seat upholstery. Arguably the finest season of his career, Gregg won eight races and eight consecutive pole positions in 1979. The car won 53 percent of the races it entered, carrying Gregg to 20 percent of his total career IMSA victories.
  • 1972 Porsche 917-10: The first 917/10 was produced in 1971. This Can-Am Racer had a twin-turbocharged engine capable of 200+mph speeds at 1100 hp. Peter Gregg raced the car to a 9th place finish in the 1972 Can-Am Championship, followed by Hurley Haywood’s 3rd place finish in the 1973 Can-Am Series season. The Brumos Porsche 917-10 was the first race car to carry what has now become the iconic and recognizable white, red and blue livery with the famous Brumos Racing “sweeps.”
  • 1923 Miller 122 Grand Prix: Miller was the first American race car bought solely to race in Europe. This 1923 Miller 122 Grand Prix was driven by Bugatti racer Count Louis Zborowski, who raced it in England, Spain and France. Returned to the United State 89 years later, this is considered one of the most complete surviving Millers.

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