Dale Coyne Racing announced on Friday, December 11 that Conor Daly will run all 16 Verizon IndyCar Series events behind the wheel of the No. 18 Honda in 2016.
“It’s an amazing thing to think that I actually get to prepare for races before the weekend,” the 23-year-old said. “I haven’t actually competed in a full season of racing since 2013. There was a really scary time in my career so it’s incredible to finally be able to get this break.
“Just excited to work; to finally be able to put away the sponsorship books and cold calls and just be able to work at what I know, what I can do and what I love to do, which is driving and all the aspects of Indy car racing.”
Over the past three seasons, Daly has been searching for a full-time ride, competing in six events for three different teams. Daly made his first IndyCar start in 2013 driving for A.J. Foyt Racing in the Indianapolis 500. This past season, he ran Long Beach as a substitute driver for Dale Coyne Racing, whille running four races as a replacement for James Hinchcliffe at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports following Hinchcliffe’s Indianapolis crash. In his six starts, he has had a best finish of sixth at Belle Isle.
“I had to go in and make the best of every situation because I never knew what would happen next,” he said. “So when I got the opportunity at Long Beach last year or the chance to fill in for James I had to give my absolute best and focus on doing everything perfect.
“I think I can use that mind-set to my advantage and continue moving forward. The last three years have definitely been a humbling experience and tough on the mental side but we made it through.”
Daly proved that he could get the job done coming up through the ranks, winning the 2010 Star Mazda Championship. He will have Darren Crouser as his team manager, Mike Cannon as the lead engineer, and Todd Phillips as the chief mechanic.
“They are experienced and really stoked to get this going. I was at the shop this week and it’s so nice for them to get things going before Christmas,” he said. “We’re excited to go testing and be at a new level of prepared, and I have a high level of confidence in everyone on the team that we’ll be able to achieve great things next year.”
Dale Coyne also announced that Bryan Clauson will drive a Dale Coyne Racing Honda in association with Jonathan Byrd’s Racing for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Clauson is a four-time USAC Champion. The 100th Indianapolis 500 will mark his third time running the crown jewel event.
“I’m excited to be returning to the Speedway in 2016 with the support of the Byrd family, the Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group and Cancer Treatment Centers of America,” the 26-year-old said. “I hope this is the start of a long and successful relationship between two groups of passionate supporters of open-wheel racing. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is the centerpiece of what is a very busy schedule for me in 2016 and I’m eager to get on track and build on the things that we learned this year.”