Ed Carpenter Racing has announced today that Conor Daly will drive for them on a part-time schedule in the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series. Daly will drive the #20 ECR Chevrolet for the twelve road course and street circuit events on the seventeen-round calendar and will also contest the Indianapolis 500 in a third car for the team.
Team boss, Ed Carpenter, will continue to drive the #20 car for the oval races, as has been the case for the last few seasons when he has shared the cockpit of the car with drivers such as Ed Jones, Jordan King and Spencer Pigot.
Daly has secured his ride in the #20 Chevrolet with the aid of his sponsors for the 2020 season, the U.S. Air Force; who sponsored the American this year when he raced for Andretti Autosport at Indianapolis and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
In today’s announcement, Daly expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Air Force for remaining with him for 2020 and went on to talk of his excitement about racing for Ed Carpenter Racing next year.
“I am so thankful for the loyalty the U.S. Air Force has demonstrated along with the faith in me to get the job done,” Daly said today. “This has been an incredible relationship to see grow and get stronger as we continue to add races to our program. I couldn’t be happier to be getting one more step closer to full-time Indy car competition.
“As an Indiana kid, it just feels right to be getting a chance with Ed Carpenter Racing. This team has done such an incredible job over the years and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ed and this group. I look forward to entering a season feeling fully prepared with simulator time and testing for the first time in several years.”
Daly, a fan-favourite driver, has long been searching for a way to get back onto the NTT IndyCar Series grid full-time. After a spell racing in Europe in the GP3 Series and the GP2 Series, Daly set his sights on IndyCar and raced for two full seasons in 2016 with Dale Coyne Racing and 2017 with A.J. Foyt Enterprises. In those two seasons, Daly scored nine top-ten finishes with a best result of second-place at Detroit in 2016.
However, Daly lost his drive at the end of the 2017 season and has since been unable to find a full-time ride in the IndyCar Series. However, in the last two years, he has raced for five different teams in one-off entries or substitute roles. He raced for Thom Burns Racing and Harding Racing for a combined total of four races in 2018, with a further seven races coming in 2019 with Andretti Autosport, Schmidt Peterson Racing and Carlin; with the latter team signing Daly to replace Max Chilton in the final four oval races of the year. Conor was able to take the #59 car to its best finish of the year at Gateway Motorsports Park when he finished in sixth place.
In today’s announcement, Conor’s new boss, Ed Carpenter, stated that he has been watching Conor for the last few years and has been impressed by what he has seen. He said that he is “excited” to have Conor on the team for 2020 and to have the U.S. Air Force as a partner.
“I am extremely proud and excited to welcome Conor Daly and the U.S. Air Force to Ed Carpenter Racing! I have seen Conor grow and mature over the course of his career and am confident that his best years are yet to come,” said Carpenter. “It is a huge honor to represent the men and women who serve in the U.S. Air Force and we hope to make them proud this season.”
Today’s announcement means that all three Ed Carpenter Racing seats for 2020 are officially occupied. Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter will share the full-time #20 Chevrolet, with rookie Rinus VeeKay alongside in the full-time #21 car. The team’s third car for the Indianapolis 500 will be piloted by Daly.
The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 15.