Carlin has announced today that Conor Daly will drive for them in this weekend’s NTT IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. Daly will drive the team’s #59 Chevrolet after the team’s regular driver, Max Chilton, made the decision to cease competing on ovals from this weekend onwards.
Daly was initially rumoured to be taking a Carlin seat for Texas following the announcement a few days ago that Patricio O’Ward, who had been scheduled to race in Texas, would no longer be doing so. However, today’s news confirms his entry nonetheless, but this time in the #59 car previously piloted by Chilton.
Speaking today after news broke of his signing, Daly spoke of his excitement at being back on the grid for the NTT IndyCar Series, particularly with Carlin; whom he raced for back in 2011 whilst competing in Europe.
“I want to thank everyone at Carlin and Gallagher for the opportunity to get back in a race car at Texas Motor Speedway,” Daly said today, “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Carlin back in 2011 as I started my European racing journey and to now drive for them in the NTT IndyCar Series is pretty special. I look forward to being able to contribute to the team as best I can.”
Daly last raced in the NTT IndyCar Series a few weeks ago at the 2019 Indianapolis 500. Driving in a one-off entry from Andretti Autosport, Daly showed great pace throughout the month of May and ultimately finished the race in tenth place. Conor’s aim for the race had been to finish strongly in order to put himself on the radar for further races in the future. That plan seems to have worked.
The opportunity to step into the #59 Carlin Chevrolet came after the team’s full-time driver, Max Chilton, announced that he would no longer be taking part in the oval races on the calendar. The British driver will continue to race for the team in the remaining road course and street circuit races this season, but he will miss this weekend’s race in Texas as well as the three further oval races later this year at Iowa Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Gateway Motorsports Park.
Chilton did not give a concrete reason as to why he is stepping away from ovals, but his comments today regarding “risk management” and his excitement for the introduction of IndyCar’s new aeroscreen for the 2020 season seems to suggest that Max was not happy with the levels of danger seen in oval racing.
“I would like to thank Gallagher for being supportive of my decision to not compete in the remaining oval races this season,” Chilton said today, “I am extremely fortunate to have such a supportive partner. Risk Management is a central consideration of both Gallagher and myself in how we operate.
“I’m excited and pleased by the outstanding proactive work being done by INDYCAR around driver safety and the innovation of the solution developed in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies that has created a new aero screen. The innovative solution will be the most advanced single seater driver head protection in the world and will be introduced in 2020. My focus remains on getting the best possible results for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin crew and I will be helping the team and Conor in any way I can to that end.”
On-track action for this weekend’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway will begin with practice on Thursday, June 6. Qualifying will be run the following day on Friday, June 7, with the race itself taking place under the lights on Saturday, June 8.