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Daly To Team With ECR

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, December 21 2020

Conor Daly will drive for Ed Carpenter Racing next year. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Indiana native Conor Daly will run a partial NTT IndyCar Series schedule in 2021 with Ed Carpenter Racing as teammate to owner/driver Carpenter and 2020 Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay.

Daly will drive ECR’s No. 20 Chevrolet in the series’ 13 road and street-course events. Carpenter will drive the No. 20 in the series’ four oval-track events, with Daly to wheel another ECR entry in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

“It feels incredible to have another year together with (sponsor) U.S. Air Force and Ed Carpenter Racing,” Daly said in a team news release from Indianapolis. “Continuity has always been helpful for me in my career; the fact that we are able to hit the ground running in 2021 already having experience together gives me a lot of confidence. Every day we learn more and develop a stronger relationship.

“This would not be possible without the support of the U.S. Air Force, an incredibly supportive and loyal partner. I want nothing more than to win races and compete for the entrant championship for the Airmen, the guys at ECR and my boss Ed, who has become a true friend of mine. I can’t wait to get back to work.”

A 29-year-old native of Noblesville, Ind., Daly completed the COVID-19-impacted, 14-race 2020 schedule splitting time between ECR and Carlin Racing. In nine races in the No. 20 ECR Chevrolet, Daly recorded a best start of fourth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Race 1) and best finish of 12th in the Indy GP and Indy Harvest GP on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course.

Daly started 18th and finished 29th in the 104th Indy 500 in August, crashing-out after completing 91 of 200 laps in ECR’s No. 47 Chevy.

Daly made five starts in the No. 59 Gallagher Insurance Chevrolet fielded by Trevor Carlin, highlighted by his first career series pole at Iowa Speedway and four top-10 finishes. His best overall finish was sixth in the No. 59 during the season-opener at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Over the past seven years, Daly has competed in over 60 INDYCAR races. Daly also made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in 2020 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“It’s a very exciting day to be able to announce the return of both the U.S. Air Force and Conor to Ed Carpenter Racing,” Carpenter said. “We’re looking forward to the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series, having the same driver lineup to continue our progression back to a race-winning and championship-contending organization.”

VeeKay, who turned 20 on Sept. 11, remains ECR’s fulltime driver in the No. 21 Chevrolet. The Dutchman’s debut season featured the best qualifying result by a teen-ager in Indianapolis 500 history (fourth), his first series pole position (Indy Harvest GP) and three top-five finishes.

Veekay _ a native of Holland whose full name is Rinus van Kalmthout _ earned a ROY honor previously won by fellow-Dutchman Arie Luyendyk and an international lineup featuring Nigel Mansell of Great Britain, Alex Zanardi of Italy, Tony Kanaan of Brazil, Scott Dixon of New Zealand, Sebastien Bourdais of France and Alexander Rossi of the United States.

Daly is continuing a partnership with the Air Force that originated four years ago with a one-off 2018 Indy 500 entry. Daly and ECR continue to work alongside the Air Force to inspire young adults, communicate the service’s mission and build awareness about career opportunities.

The success of U.S. Air Force recruiting relies on a multi-layered marketing campaign at the local, regional and national level. Involvement in the NTT IndyCar Series reflects the Air Force’s core values and has a positive impact on generating public awareness about the organization, its people and mission. The partnership enables the Air Force to leverage and establish STEM correlations with INDYCAR racing including teamwork, speed, technology, engineering, math and excellence in competition.

“This partnership draws a parallel with how we fly, fight and win,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service. “Both organizations rely on the principles of science, technology, engineering and math to accomplish the mission. The technology that goes into these cars is similar to what we rely on when flying our fighter jets. Also, teamwork is especially important with the Air Force just like at the Indy 500. Everything just ties in perfectly with how we accomplish our respective missions. That’s what makes this a great partnership.” 

The 17-race/2021 season will be Ed Carpenter Racing’s 10th in the open-wheel series. ECR began as a single-car organization in 2012, expanding to two full-time entries in 2015. For the first time since fielding multiple entries, the team will enjoy the continuity of retaining the same driver lineup from the previous season. The No. 20 also maintains its all-Hoosier lineup as both Carpenter and Daly are Indiana residents.

Carpenter, 39 and a three-time Indy 500 pole-winner, will be driving in his 19th season of INDYCAR competition in 2021.

REVISED 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES SCHEDULE

Sunday, March 7 _Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. (NBC)

Sunday, April 11 _ Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala. (NBCSN)

Saturday, May 1 _ Texas Motor Speedway Race 1, Fort Worth (NBCSN)

Sunday, May 2 _ Texas Motor Speedway Race 2, Fort Worth (NBCSN)

Saturday, May 15 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course (NBC)

Sunday, May 30 _ The 105th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (NBC)

Saturday, June 12 _ The Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 1, Detroit (NBC)

Sunday, June 13 _ The Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 2, Detroit (NBC)

Sunday, June 20 _ Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (NBCSN)

Sunday, July 4 _ Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio (NBC)

Sunday, July 11 _ Streets of Toronto (NBCSN)

Sunday, Aug. 8 _ Streets of Nashville, Tenn. (NBCSN)

Saturday, Aug. 14 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course (NBCSN)

Saturday, Aug. 21 _ World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, Ill. (NBCSN)

Sunday, Sept. 12 _ Portland (Ore.) International Raceway (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 19 _ WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif. (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 26 _ Streets of Long Beach, Calif. (NBCSN)

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, December 21 2020
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