Archive for the IndyCar Category

Will Conor Daly Be An IndyCar Driver In 2018?

Posted in IndyCar on December 18, 2017 by Oilpressure

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As far as we know, there are 1.67 full-time rides left on the Verizon IndyCar Series for the 2018 season. That would be the full-time seat in the second car at Dale Coyne Racing that was intended for Ed Jones before he opted for the No.10 car at Chip Ganassi Racing. The two-thirds ride is the non-oval portion for the No.20 car at Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) that Ed himself drives on the ovals.

Conor Daly is one driver that many fans, myself included, want to see back in the series next season. I’ve seen online where some have debated which ride would be better for Daly, if he had the luxury of choosing between them. It seems that many think that the ride with Ed Carpenter would be the better ride. I don’t agree.

Most point to the Chevy engine that powers the ECR entry. A year ago, I may have agreed that the Chevy was the preferred package – especially on non-ovals. But now that all cars will be running the same aero kit, I feel that is no longer an advantage for Chevy. I’m not an engineer, but I feel like the Honda aero kit was the liability on non-ovals – not the Honda engine itself.

Others point to the beefed-up engineering staff at ECR, now that Allen McDonald has moved from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to Ed Carpenter Racing. No disrespect meant towards Mr. McDonald, but the engineering staff at Dale Coyne Racing is nothing to laugh at. I would put Dale Coyne Racing’s Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson up against practically anyone in the paddock – especially when it comes to doing a lot with very little.

Keep in mind, Conor Daly is still young (he turned twenty-six this past Friday) and only has two full IndyCar seasons under his belt – one at Coyne and this past season at AJ Foyt Enterprises.

I’m still upset that Larry and AJ Foyt gave Daly the boot after just one season, when their drivers were clearly not the only reason for poor performance. I know that Matheus Leist brings some much needed cash, but dumping both Daly and Carlos Muñoz after just one season was bush-league – especially after Daly’s surge in the latter part of the 2017 season. I’m glad Tony Kanaan has a home, but the fact that neither Daly nor Muñoz has a ride for 2018 helps to confirm what I’ve always said – AJ Foyt’s team is where driving careers go to die. And that comes from a huge fan of AJ Foyt (the man and the driver).

Anyway, back to the topic of Daly’s career – he needs to go where he can continue to learn, gain experience and grow. He has a much better chance of doing all three at dale Coyne Racing.

If Daly goes to ECR, he will not be driving on any ovals – an area of his resume that is already lacking. At best, ECR might run a third car at the Indianapolis 500, but they might not. They didn’t this past May. He would also have Spencer Pigot as a teammate – a driver that is far less experienced than Daly.

At Coyne, Daly would drive in each and every race and would be guaranteed a shot in the Indianapolis 500. He would be the beneficiary of a great engineering staff and would gain more experience on ovals. Most of all, he could benefit greatly from having a four-time series champion in Sébastien Bourdais as a teammate. Granted, Bourdais does not care for ovals and is probably even less fond of them after his frightening crash during his qualifying run at Indianapolis last May. But he has won on ovals and could be a very steadying influence on the young Daly.

At Coyne, Daly would also have Honda power. I will reiterate that I don’t think the Honda engine was the issue. With equal body kits next season, we’ll soon find out.

I realize that not everyone is a fan of Conor Daly. I’ve seen the comments that he is over-hyped and would not have had the opportunities he’s been afforded if not for his father (former Formula One and IndyCar driver Derek Daly) and step-father (IMS President Doug Boles). It’s obvious that Daly’s relation to those two has not hurt his career, but if they were so powerful – don’t you think Daly would have a ride right now?

I’ve also seen comments that some (including some car owners) perceive Daly to be somewhat of a likeable goofball that doesn’t take his craft seriously and isn’t fully committed to being a professional. I can’t attest to that. I’ve never met Daly and have not seen any of those quotes directly from owners – it’s just hearsay.

But I know that Daly’s ability is respected by his fellow drivers. Comments from his peers go a lot further with me than some comment I might see on some obscure message board. And don’t let that easy-going façade fool you. I hear that deep down, he is as competitive and tenacious as any driver in the paddock.Plus, I know he’s good for the series.

Most of us know by now that he and fellow driver Alexander Rossi will be competing on The Amazing Race next season, which debuts on CBS on Wednesday Jan 3. I’ve never watched a single moment of that show, but I know a lot of people do – and I’ll be tuning in to see what it’s all about. It will not be ideal if one of the two IndyCar drivers is a recent Indianapolis 500 winner, while the other one is an unemployed driver.

For the Daly detractors out there – he may not be the most talented driver in the paddock, not yet anyway. But he is very likeable and is a good ambassador for IndyCar. Some say that the paddock should only be made up of winning drivers that are robotic and have no personality. Well, Daly may have a likeable personality, but he’s no clown. Given the right opportunity, I think he can excel.

It probably didn’t hurt Daly’s chances for landing the vacant seat at Coyne, when the tentative race in Mexico was shelved for at least a year. Had that race made the 2018 schedule, I would have put my money on Esteban Gutiérrez snagging the second seat at Coyne. Now that it is on hold for 2018, Daly’s chances may have improved.

So in that mythical and hypothetical world where Conor Daly is offered the full-time ride at Dale Coyne Racing and the part-time ride at Ed Carpenter Racing – I believe Daly would be better served to take the Coyne ride.

Daly’s tenure at Dale Coyne two years ago did not go well. But he was a rookie and there were other factors involved. His car fared a lot better than the other Coyne car, which was a revolving door of drivers. Things have stabilized there a lot, and I think the conditions are right to bring Daly back to Dale Coyne Racing.

George Phillips

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Welcoming Four New Teams For Next Season

Posted in IndyCar on December 15, 2017 by Oilpressure

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When the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series came to an end at Sonoma back in mid-September, there was a lot of anxiety about the car count for 2018. There were twenty-one full-time entries for the 2017 season. Although not confirmed by the respective teams involved, it was common knowledge among fans that the grid was going to lose three full-time cars in the offseason. Of course, they were also gaining one with Takuma Sato having already announced he was moving to a new second car with Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan; so the net loss was going to be two cars for 2018.

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A Number Swap Triggers A History Lesson

Posted in IndyCar on December 13, 2017 by Oilpressure

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Last week, it was announced that Andretti Autosport drivers Marco Andretti and Alexander Rossi would be swapping numbers. Starting next season, Marco Andretti will drive a car carrying the No.98, while Rossi will drive the No.27 car. That got me to thinking about some IndyCar numerology in the past. It’s a dangerous thing when my mind wanders in the offseason. You never know what bit of minutia I might dig up.

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Lights At The Brickyard

Posted in IndyCar on December 11, 2017 by Oilpressure

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One thing you always hear about IndyCar racing is that television doesn’t do it justice. No matter how hard they try, TV cameras just cannot capture the sheer speed or sound of a race car. While it makes for enjoyable viewing, there is nothing like being there in person.

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A Double-Dip Trip This Weekend

Posted in IndyCar on December 8, 2017 by Oilpressure

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By Susan Phillips

There are two times of the year that my husband gets obnoxiously excited about: the month of May and the Christmas season. I could certainly throw in football season, but that’s much more than a time of year. It’s half a year.

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Can “The Split” Be Described Objectively?

Posted in IndyCar on December 6, 2017 by Oilpressure

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Normally, I don’t seek out controversy here just to get a few extra hits. I don’t make money off of this site, so extra hits do nothing for me other than give me a warm fuzzy feeling. That’s not the reason I come here three times a week.

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Losing More Than We Realize

Posted in IndyCar on December 4, 2017 by Oilpressure

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I had planned to write about this on Friday, but with the death of Jim Nabors I decided to postpone this topic  to today. Last Wednesday came some news that no one saw coming – that Brian Barnhart will leave his position at IndyCar as Vice-President of Competition and Race Director in order to become President of Harding Racing.

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