When the motorsports world came to a freezing halt in the spring due to COVID-19, many drivers took their racing experience to the virtual world. For Conor Daly and Travis Pastrana, the two formed a bit of a rivalry in iRacing as part of their LCQ League. Later this month, the two will turn their friendly grudge into reality.
On Thursday, Niece Motorsports announced the two will run the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series‘ World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 25 September. It will be Pastrana’s second race with the team, while Daly makes his Truck Series début.
“I’m really looking forward to bringing our rivalry from the LCQ League to the real world,” Pastrana stated. “We’ve been getting lots of advice and iRacing on track coaching from fellow LCQ member Parker Kligerman. I’m looking forward to seeing how the hours in iRacing pay off on the track, especially for Conor who has never driven a NASCAR truck in real life. He might be the first person in history to jump into a professional racing series and take the green flag without so much as a single practice lap in real life! Conor is a phenomenal IndyCar driver and a quick learner so I think he will surprise a lot of people.”
Although he is more well-known for his non-asphalt exploits like rallycross and motocross, Pastrana ran the full 2013 schedule in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he finished fourteenth in points. In the years since, he has made sporadic starts in the Truck Series, with his twenty-second-place run at Kansas in July being his first NASCAR start since 2017. He finished tenth in his lone Xfinity start at Las Vegas in 2013, while all of his prior Truck starts before 2020 came at the track with a best run of fifteenth in his début in 2012.
Daly comes from the opposite extreme, racing open-wheel cars in championships like the GP2 Series and Road to Indy. He is currently sixteenth in the NTT IndyCar Series standings with a best finish of sixth in the season opener at Texas. In 2018, he ran a NASCAR race for the first time when he contested the Xfinity event at Road America and finished thirty-first due to mechanical problems.
The pair’s NASCAR stints are connected via Roush Fenway Racing, who fielded their Xfinity cars. Niece Motorsports general manager Cody Efaw was a former employee at RFR, and also served as Pastrana’s car chief during the 2013 season.
iRacing will support both drivers’ efforts. The LCQ League, which has also featured stars from series like IndyCar, NASCAR, and motocross, races on a variety of circuits and disciplines including off-road. Among its ranks include IndyCar’s Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe, NASCAR’s Landon Cassill and Kligerman, and Supercross star Chad Reed.
“To think this whole LCQ League friendship between Travis and I, along with drivers and riders from all over the motorsport spectrum, all started on iRacing is pretty incredible,” Daly said. “We have a tremendous group of partners allowing us to turn this wild idea into a reality and I can’t thank them enough. The only goal I have in my mind is to beat the legendary Travis Pastrana. He made me look like an absolute novice on everything with a motor while at his house a few months ago, but that was on dirt… It’s time to throw down on the high banked pavement of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.”
The two will drive the #42 and #45 for Niece. The #42 is a part-time ride that has been shared between Ross Chastain and Mark Smith for five races so far in 2020, while the #45 was primarily driven by Ty Majeski on what was initially a full-time basis before he was replaced by Trevor Bayne for the last two rounds. Chastain holds the #42’s best finish of the year with a sixth at Atlanta, while the #45 is eighteenth in owners’ points.