Conor Daly scratched off the list for potential McLaren IndyCar ride

INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski

INDIANAPOLIS – Scratch Conor Daly’s name off the list for a ride at Arrow McLaren Racing SP for next season, the driver told NBC Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Daly was one of several NTT IndyCar Series drivers and team members that were at the Speedway for Wednesday’s Aeroscreen test. Those tests were conducted by drivers Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and Will Power of Team Penske.

Daly, Felix Rosenqvist, Jack Harvey, Tony Kanaan and 2019 NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden along with numerous rival team engineers and personnel were interested onlookers at the Aeroscreen test.

“McLaren had some people on their list, and I did not end up being at the top of that list,” Daly told NBC “That’s fine. It was good to at least be in that conversation and talk to Zak Brown and Gil de Ferran and Sam Schmidt. I have a lot of respect for all of those guys.

“In the end, I don’t think the Portland situation helped. They wanted to see me race there for that team and in that car. That hurt the situation.”

The “Portland Situation” was the first lap of the September 1 Grand Prix of Portland. Daly was driving the No. 7 Arrow Honda filling in for Marcus Ericsson, who had a Formula One commitment that weekend. McLaren became a partner of the operation in August and team officials were using Daly’s race at Portland as a chance to evaluate him as a driver to join James Hinchcliffe on the Arrow McLaren team in 2020.

Daly’s dream ride, however, didn’t make it through Turn 1. He was one of several drivers involved in a first lap, first-turn crash. The others included Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Zach Veach.

Rahal accepted responsibility for causing the crash, but the residual effect on Daly’s audition led McLaren to consider other drivers.

“It’s a huge letdown when you start up front and crash early in the race,” Daly said. “It came up multiple times in conversation, where they say, ‘We would have liked to have seen what you could have done in Portland.’ That has come up.

“All I can do is what I can do, and I did what I can do, and it was out of my control what happened there. It is a shame, but it played a big factor in what happens in the future.”

2019 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

So, what is next for the popular driver who is a fan favorite but never seems to find a full-time ride in the NTT IndyCar Series?

“That’s a great question,” Daly said. “I really don’t know. We are working away at everything. There really aren’t many seats left for a full-time ride. Rahal Letterman Lanigan doesn’t look like they have anything. I have some help with the Air Force, but there needs to be some other pieces there to make that happen and it doesn’t look like they have those pieces.

“I don’t think McLaren is where I’m going to be at. They are going to go a different way. It was cool to be in the talks of being there.

“Other than that, I’m trying to see what else is out there and what might work. There are potential opportunities there, but it’s super early.

“At least I know where I’m not going to be.

“I’m always on people’s lists, but I never seem to be the top person on that list. I’m going to keep working on trying to be on the top of that list at some point. In McLaren’s situation, they know what they have and want to pick the people they want.”

Daly has some funding from the United States Air Force. The military recruitment sponsorship funded his effort at Andretti Autosport in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 and at the season’s final race in the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on September 22.

Daly probably has enough sponsorship for a half-season.

“I would like to think I could fund a half-season, but that’s not enough,” Daly said. “You have to hunt for more or find the best position now and wait for a ton of driver’s contracts to come up next year. Things change. You don’t want to wait until 2021 because you need to be racing all that you can.

“Andretti is full for next year. There are still things on the table. I can’t really say what they are. We are not out of the fight, that’s for sure. It’s too early.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change