Gabby Chaves returns to Harding Racing for Gateway

by Jordan Groves
Gabby Chaves (COL), Harding Racing, Verizon IndyCar Series, Texas, 2018

Harding Racing has announced today that Gabby Chaves will be back behind the wheel of their #88 Verizon IndyCar Series Chevrolet for this weekend’s 2018 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park.

The Columbian driver, who was initially signed to race full-time for Harding this year, has handed over the car to Conor Daly for the last three races, as the team evaluated the American to fill a potential second car in 2019.

At the time when it was announced that Daly would be taking over from Chaves, Gabby made no secret of the fact that he was not best pleased with the idea of stepping aside. After three races of watching from the sidelines, Gabby said today that he was “more driven than ever” and “ready to get behind the wheel” again.

“Really enthused and ready to get behind the wheel of the 88 car and be back with my guys,” said Chaves. “We’re ready to speed up our development and progression, and we’re more driven than ever to get some of the results we know are possible based on our results from last season. I’m also very excited to race at Gateway for the Bommarito 500 for the first time.”

Up until Chaves handed over the #88 to Daly, the team’s best result of the year had been a pair of fourteenth place finishes at the season-opening race in St. Petersburg and at the Indianapolis 500 in May. However, Daly impressed immediately and took a thirteenth place finish first time out at Toronto.

It is not yet known whether Chaves will be back in the car again after this weekend, or whether he is just filling in for Daly, who will be making his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Road America. There is even a chance that another driver may get a crack at the whip, as there has yet to be any confirmation that it will be Daly who will definitely get the nod if the team do, indeed, expand to two cars.

After today’s announcement, Harding Racing’s president, Brian Barnhart, expressed his gratitude for Daly and his efforts over the last few weeks and went on to state that he was hoping that the team will be able to perform well in their first race at Gateway with Chaves this weekend:
“I first want to thank Conor for his contributions over the last couple of months and giving another perspective and feedback,” said Barnhart. “We’re excited and happy to have Gabby back in the car as we head to St. Louis. And we’re looking to improve on our performance on the short oval form earlier in the year.
“Gabby has done a fantastic job being a team player through the process that had Conor in the car and Colton [Herta] testing in Portland. Hopefully, we can show Gabby some improvements from the team standpoint when he rejoins us for the St. Louis weekend.” 
On-track action for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 this weekend at Gateway kicks off on Friday with two practice sessions and qualifying. The 248-lap race will be run the following evening on Saturday, August 25.

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