After a successful five races with the Carlin INDYCAR team, Conor Daly closed out his 2020 oval run this past weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway with a pair of top-10 finishes at the Bommarito 500 doubleheader. Daly and Carlin have finished in the top 10 in four of their five races together this season and were able to record their first NTT INDYCAR SERIES career pole at Iowa Speedway beating out longtime INDYCAR powerhouses Penske Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Andretti Autosport.
The Bommarito 500 doubleheader weekend kicked off at World Wide Technology Raceway with a practice session on Friday evening, qualifying for both races and Race 1 on Saturday, and Race 2 on Sunday. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES introduced a new qualifying format earlier this season in Iowa that allowed each driver to record two consecutive qualifying laps and then set the field by those individual laps. The speed of the driver’s first lap set their qualifying position for the first race and the speed of the driver’s second lap set their qualifying position for the second race.
Daly recorded his first qualifying lap at 179.986 mph and his second qualifying lap at 180.374 mph placing him in 16th for Race 1 and 15th for Race 2. Both the team and Daly were confused at the disappointing qualifying effort as the Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet finished practice on Friday evening in fourth after a qualifying simulation clocked a fast lap of 180.581 mph. Regardless of the qualifying results, the team was confident that the speed was there for the races on Saturday and Sunday.
Daly and the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet ran strong during both races at World Wide Technology Raceway and were headed toward Carlin’s first INDYCAR top-five finish on Saturday, but an untimely yellow for moisture on the track turned the team’s strategy upside down after pitting and being shuffled to the back before the yellow and ultimately finishing 10th. During Sunday’s Race 2, Daly moved his way through the field with quick pit stops by the Gallagher Racing crew in pit lane and a strong drive putting him into eighth where he took the checkered flag Sunday afternoon.
“We had a really good weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway,” said Daly “To be honest qualifying was a bit confusing for us, but once we got into both races we were fantastic, able to pass cars, and really just moving through the field. The first race was tough because of the yellow for rain and really that just killed our race. Once that yellow came out it kind of sent us into recovery mode just trying to get back up front after we got shuffled to the back. It’s unfortunate because I really think we had at least a top-five car, if not a podium. Thankfully we were able to rebound and still finish in the top 10, but I really think if not for that yellow that we could’ve had an even better result. We were really strong in the second race as well. The guys were great in the pits and the car was fast again and we were able to just work our way forward every time we came into pit lane. To start both races in 16th and 15th and still come away with two top-10s and to have four of the five races together with Carlin result in top-10 finishes is just really awesome. I’m just so happy and thankful to have had the opportunity to be competitive with this team and get so close to a podium so many times.”
Carlin has recorded 14 top-10 finishes since their INDYCAR debut in 2018 with Daly responsible for five of the 14 top-10 finishes over his career with the Carlin INDYCAR team.