Race Weekend Central

Conor Daly Pushes Car to the Brink, Scores Sixth-Place at IMS

For Indiana native Conor Daly, simply being in the field in any given race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an honor and a privilege. However, for a brief moment during Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Daly looked like a trip to victory lane was in the realm of possibility.

Taking advantage of a differing pit strategy following a mid-race crash involving Sébastien Bourdais, Daly found himself in second-place behind Helio Castroneves on the race’s final restart.

When the green flag flew to restart the race on lap 46, Daly made a bold move going into the track’s first turn, taking the lead on his home track.

“I got a good restart around Helio, and the car was good so we just used it to pull away,” said Daly.

Daly would go on to lead 14 laps, the most of any drive outside of race-winner Pagenaud, before losing the lead on the final cycle of pit stops.

This was the second stint that Daly has led this year, following another impressive run for the rookie in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Running in his first full season for Dale Coyne Racing, Daly led going into that race’s final restart before losing the top spot to Juan Pablo Montoya as the Columbian jumped on the push-to-pass.

Daly admitted to learning from his mistake that day when going to take the lead from Castroneves.

‘I used the overtake on the restart instead,” Daly joked about how this restart different from the last. “Helio was kind of going every which way, but I knew our car was really good on the brakes, and I knew we were really trimmed, which helped on the straight line.”
Unfortunately for Daly, the car itself began to give out over the second half of the race. Daly’s No. 18 Honda lost pace over the race’s final laps, causing him to drift back to sixth by the time the checkered flag flew to end the 82-lap event.
“We still have a lot of things to work on,” Daly acknowledged. “Sadly, we had a lot of up shifts that were denied. Our engine’s now overmileaged-out.”
“It was really tugging hard at the end. We had a lot of mixed up shifts. Everything was sort of falling to pieces, but we just tried to keep it together.”
Still, there was plenty to be proud of as his DCR team continues to grow.
“Dixon was behind me, which has’t normally happened this year, and he didn’t pass us, which was great. If we can hold off Dixon and fight at the front, then we’re doing out jobs. We’re getting better.
“That’s the story of the season. We just have to get better and keep improving.”

About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

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