Conor Daly will once again be behind the wheel of Harding Racing‘s #88 Verizon IndyCar Series Chevrolet this weekend in the 2018 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. The event will be the third consecutive race that Daly has driven for the team, as the team continue to prepare for a potential two-car expansion in 2019.
“Having the chance to race at Pocono is really exciting for me,” Daly said in yesterday’s announcement. “Because it means as a team we’ll have had a chance to race at a road course, street course and superspeedway together. It’ll be a new challenge for us to work through, and I can’t wait for it.”
Daly last raced on an oval back in May at the 2018 Indianapolis 500. The American finished in twenty-first place after having qualified last. He went on to add that he is hoping that he can apply the things he learned in that race when he returns to a “superspeedway” this weekend:
“Thankfully, after competing at the Indy 500 this year, I have some experience with the superspeedway aero package which gives me some more confidence heading into the weekend,” Daly commented, “The Chevrolet engine was obviously very strong at Indy, so I look forward to working with them alongside the Harding Racing boys yet again this year.”
Daly first got behind the wheel of the #88 for Harding Racing back at the Honda Indy Toronto last month. He was replacing the team’s usual driver, Gabby Chaves, with the team explaining that Chaves remained on their books, but was stepping aside so that the team could evaluate Daly for a potential seat next year; with the team hoping to expand to a two-car effort.
A strong weekend saw Daly finish thirteenth in Toronto, before being put back in the cockpit at the next race at Mid-Ohio; where he would qualify well but fall to twenty-second place in the race. This weekend will be Daly’s third outing with the team and it could potentially be his last until next season, with the team’s president, Brian Barnhart, stating yesterday that he was glad that Daly would have had a chance to showcase himself at all three types of race courses that are on the calendar.
“Harding Racing feels our second half of the season program has generated considerable benefits for us,” Barnhart said. “We’re going to continue that at Pocono Raceway in an effort to make sure that Conor had an opportunity to participate in all the disciplines that are included in the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.
“We would have done a street circuit, a permanent road course, and now a superspeedway with Conor when he runs at Pocono, and getting the feedback from him with each of those types of tracks is important for our future.”
Harding Racing’s official plans for the 2019 IndyCar Series have yet to be confirmed. So far, it has been expected that the team will expand to a two-car entry to field Chaves and Daly. However, speculation continues to circulate that Harding could be involved in a possible partnership with Andretti Autosport and McLaren that will see Fernando Alonso enter IndyCar full-time next season. This has further been fueled by unconfirmed reports that Alonso will undergo a road course test with Andretti next month. Official confirmation of either of Harding Racing’s scenarios is expected in the coming months.
Daly and Harding Racing will be back out on track with practice and qualifying at Pocono this Saturday, with the ABC Supply 500 being held on Sunday, August 19.