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Daly to contest IndyCar Texas races with Carlin

Conor Daly will again take the wheel of Carlin's IndyCar entry for the series' double-header in Texas,

Conor Daly, Carlin Chevrolet

Conor Daly, Carlin Chevrolet

Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

Although Daly races for Ed Carpenter Racing across the road and street courses, along with the Indianapolis 500, he will assume duties for the British squad at Texas when ECR team owner Ed Carpenter takes his usual role of contesting the oval races - and Daly is also expected to drive at Gateway later this year.

Daly proved to be a major asset for the team when he assumed this role in 2019, following the decision by the car’s regular incumbent Max Chilton to trim his schedule to road and street courses plus the Indianapolis 500.

The American driver's experience accrued at AJ Foyt Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Harding Racing and Andretti Autosport over the previous five seasons proved helpful to Carlin and teammate Charlie Kimball in helping to refine the squad’s oval setups in only its second season of IndyCar racing.

In his fourth race for Carlin – with whom he had also competed in GP3 back in 2011 – Daly delivered a sixth place at Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway.

Daly's similar schedule for Ed Carpenter Racing last year allowed him to perform oval duties for Carlin in place of Chilton, as the team cut down to one entry for 2020.

Carlin’s faith was justified as Daly scored a pole position at Iowa Speedway and four top 10s in his five outings for the team.

Daly will again drive the #59 car, although the 2021 schedule contains only three oval races outside of the Indy 500 – this weekend’s double-header at Texas Motor Speedway and the August race at Gateway.

“It’s fulfilment of what both I and the team want to do," Daly told Autosport.

"I obviously want to be competing in all the races and between Ed Carpenter Racing and Carlin, I’ve got that opportunity for a second year, which is awesome.

Conor Daly with the Carlin Chevrolet crew after taking the team's first IndyCar pole at Iowa last year.

Conor Daly with the Carlin Chevrolet crew after taking the team's first IndyCar pole at Iowa last year.

Photo by: IndyCar Series

“And for Carlin, obviously they want to have a car running at all events because they want the Leader Circle spot [the approximately $1m bonus granted to the top 22 cars in the championship] and my job is to help them achieve that.

"Seeing the progress we’ve made together has been really, really rewarding because those guys are prepared to put everything on the line to improve themselves and give me what I need. That’s all you can ask for.”

Daly said he believes that Carlin can compete in the top five on all ovals, despite Iowa having now been deleted from the schedule.

“I certainly hope we can be at that level,” said Daly. “I think we could have been right up there last year at Texas if it wasn’t for the fact that the track had become kind of one-lane.

"We made it from near the back [19th] to come up through the field and finish sixth.

“And at the recent test at Indy, Max was pretty good on raw speed, so I think Carlin has made good progress in that area."

“We have no expectation or goal other than to run up front; we go there expecting to be competitive. And I think our rivals expect that from us after the last few oval races.”

Team owner Grahame Chilton added, “We’re very pleased to have Conor back with the team, we’ve enjoyed some successful races together in the past and we’re aiming to continue where we left off with our oval form.”

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