IndyCar’s Conor Daly looks ahead to Ed Carpenter Racing ride

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

If it wasn’t for incredibly tenacious perseverance, Conor Daly could have given up on racing a long time ago.

But there is no way the 28-year-old from Noblesville, Indiana, would give up on his dream of becoming a big-time NTT IndyCar Series driver.

Racing is in Daly’s blood.

His father is former Formula One and former CART and Indianapolis 500 driver Derek Daly of Ireland. His mother, Beth, is married to current Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles.

FUNNY GUY: Highlights of this past weekend’s Conor Daly Twitch stream

Daly made his debut in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 but just twice during that time has he competed full seasons in IndyCar — 2016 with Dale Coyne Racing and ’17 for A.J. Foyt Racing.

He’s been part time since, hoping to land a full-time deal to show that he can be an IndyCar star. Daly just needs a chance, and he is set to get that in 2020 in a combined effort with Ed Carpenter Racing and Carlin.

Daly will share the No. 20 Chevrolet with owner/driver Ed Carpenter. He will drive the street and road courses for the team, and also drive an additional entry Aug. 23 in the 104th Indianapolis 500. Daly will drive another Chevrolet on the ovals for Carlin Racing.

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

By joining the “Hometown Team” for the Indianapolis 500 at Ed Carpenter Racing, the second-generation driver believes he has his best chance to win the Indy 500.

“Ed has a lot of people that support him in Indiana and support the hometown team in that event,” Daly said. “That is really cool. He’s made the team one of the top teams at Indy. For any of us young drivers, when you look at teams and what is available, I think one of the most coveted seats in racing is Ed’s seat. Josef Newgarden has gone from there to Team Penske. They have won races, and that is the most important thing.

“He’s also in Gerry Forsythe’s old shop, and Gerry was one of my first supporters in racing.”

Prior to the unexpected shutdown to the season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Daly was focused on running a full season of races. He will still get that opportunity once the season resumes.

“It’s awesome,” Daly admitted. “It’s been an interesting road since 2017. That phrase that I never really believed for a while – work hard and it will eventually pay off – seems to be doing that. I’m going to keep on trucking and take advantage of what Ed Carpenter Racing has to offer. The guys are doing an incredible job on that team.

“I like Ed a lot. I think he is hilarious. I see him at the gym, and we always talk. He’s a great guy. It will be fun to see him in the trenches when we are fighting for something. Teammates at Indy, he is incredible there. It would be hilarious to share the front row with him. It would be a great photo shoot. That would be a lot of fun.

“Clearly, they have an incredible track record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There is a bit of a new element with the aeroscreen, and you never know how that is going to work out. The good teams at Indy usually figure that out pretty quickly.”

Daly is quite familiar with some of the team members at Ed Carpenter Racing. Several came from the old Panther Racing team that featured drivers such as three-time IndyCar champion Sam Hornish, Jr., Scott Goodyear and IndyCar winner Tomas Scheckter.

One of the team’s management partners at Panther was Doug Boles, the current IMS president.

“It will be nice to have a consistent home,” Daly said. “All the preparation, there are no corners being cut at all. It’s on me to take advantage of it. We can’t wait.

“I have not thought about Indy that much because I haven’t started the season in forever. Once I get to Indy, I’m going to feel good about it. We’re going to have some races to be in synch with the team. Indy is going to be great. It’s going to be awesome. I’m looking forward to getting back to tracks we haven’t raced at.

“But Indy is going to be exciting.”

Daly will take over Carpenter’s No. 20 Chevrolet on the street and road courses and drive a third car at the Indy 500 with a separate crew at ECR. Throw in the other oval races for Carlin, and that gives Daly a full season effort, though not for the same team.

“I didn’t mean to drive for three different teams last year; it just ended up being that way,” Daly said. “The crucial part was having support from the United States Air Force.”

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

With the U.S. Air Force as his sponsor, Daly finally can attempt to gain traction in a career that has been a long time in the making.

“I don’t live with regrets,” he said. “The biggest question is when I was 18, do I stay here or there? I feel really happy with eventually getting here. I’m older than I thought, but that is all right. Tony Kanaan is still racing. I’ll race another 20 years before thinking of retiring.

“I’m putting more pressure on myself. Now, I have to get in, deliver quicker and do the best I can.

“Now, we have the next weekend to get right back to it and get right back on the horse.”

“I’ve tried to bust my butt to get here. I’m sure a lot of people thought I would be gone forever, but we’re back. You never know what will happen in life.”

It has taken Daly a long time to get to this point. He was ready to go for the season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, before it was postponed on March 13.

For now, Daly has to do something that he is all too familiar with in his career.

He has to wait.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s