Conor Daly returning to Ed Carpenter Racing for road and street courses, Indy 500

Conor Daly Ed Carpenter
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Conor Daly will return to Ed Carpenter Racing for a partial NTT IndyCar Series schedule next season of road and street courses and the Indy 500, the team announced Friday.

The U.S. Air Force will be the primary sponsor for Daly in the No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet for 10 of the 13 road and street course races. Daly also will have Air Force sponsorship for the Indianapolis 500, which he will race in a third car for ECR as team owner Ed Carpenter takes over the No. 20 for the series’ four oval races.

ECR also will have 2020 rookie of the year Rinus Veekay returning next year in its full-time No. 21 Dallara-Chevy.

It’s the second consecutive season with ECR for Daly, who ran the full 2020 season in IndyCar by racing the ovals with Carlin.

He finished a season-best sixth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway and earned his first career pole position for the July 17 race at Iowa Speedway. His best ECR finish was 12th, twice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

“It feels incredible to have another year together with the U.S. Air Force and Ed Carpenter Racing,” Daly, 29, said in a release. “Continuity has always been helpful for me in my career; the fact that we are able to hit the ground running in 2021 already having experience together gives me a lot of confidence. Every day we learn more and develop a stronger relationship.

“This would not be possible without the support of the U.S. Air Force, who have been an incredibly supportive and loyal partner. I want nothing more than to win races and compete for the entrant championship for the Airmen, the guys at ECR and my boss Ed, who has become a true friend of mine. I can’t wait to get back to work!”

Daly has partnered with the U.S. Air Force since 2018, starting with a one-off entry for the Indy 500.

“This partnership draws a parallel with how we fly, fight and win,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service. “Both organizations rely on the principles of science, technology, engineering and math to accomplish the mission. … Everything just ties in perfectly with how we accomplish our respective missions.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”