Interview

Conor Daly on Detroit – “We’re certainly ready for it.”

By: Ashley McCubbin

Street courses are known for being some of the toughest circuits for a driver tackle. From the tight confines, to the bumps in the road, to the heat, it certainly takes it’s tole on the individual behind the wheel.

Each year, though, the NTT IndyCar Series up the ante by doing a double header on the streets of Detroit.

“I mean, the funny thing is there’s not enough time to do enough training for it, right? We trained last week. We trained this morning, twice a day yesterday,” Daly told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I’m flying to the simulator tonight. We’re on the simulator tomorrow all day, which will be good to get things going there.

“Yeah, I think this weekend we try out the cool suit as well, the cool shirt that some guys were wearing in St. Pete which hopefully will help us temperature-wise in the car. Yeah, there’s a lot we got to try this weekend. We’re certainly ready for it.

“But I think having the week off, it was definitely important for the body to really cool down after three weeks in a row, and literally the most days in a row in the car that we have all year long.”

For Daly, it’s a challenge that he has not tackled since 2017, but has been successful at doing in the past with three top-10’s, including a runner-up in 2016.

“It’s one of my favorite tracks, even 2015 there in the Arrow machine for Hinch after he had the mix-up with the wall at Indy,” Daly shared. “That was one of my most fun weekends, still to this day. In the rain, leading the race there up against those guys as a complete and utter rookie. I love the track. Love the race weekend. I think it’s done so well.

“Especially we’re a Chevy team, so very excited to be in the backyard there, which is really, really cool. It’s weird to think it was so long ago since I raced there. There’s a couple other places we’re going to go this year that are probably the same way. It’s going to be cool to get back there and let her rip, see what we can do. Hopefully the stuff we learned from the Indy GP, the progress we made with our car carries over to Detroit.”

Although he crashed out of the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Daly feels they should run well this weekend due to speed shown there by himself, and teammate Rinus Veekay winning. The continued progress is ultimately a testament to the continued work by Ed Carpenter Racing.

“I still would like to have a little bit more confidence on full fuel loads when we leave the pits. I think that’s something that we’re continuously improving on,” he commented. “But other than that, we want to be just consistently improving on our race pace. I think race pace is going to be super important. I think that’s probably the goal.”

Race pace may sound simple, but the car and handling has presented a challenge for Daly in able to easily transition from primary tire to the red tire.

“The car does a lot of things. Instead of just one problem, there’s three problems handling-wise. As a driver, it becomes difficult,” he explained. “There’s a lot of information coming in when you go through the entry phase of the corner, the center of the corner, the exit of the corner. Instead of having one problem, we have apex understeer, you could be loose in, apex understeer, loose off. You’re like, Well, all right, we got a lot of things to fix.

“It’s a matter of just narrowing things down and finding a better window of operation. The car has a very narrow window right now. I think we see that a lot. The entire field is within 8/10ths of a second. That narrow window it’s like 2/10ths or 3/10ths of a second. If you’re on the right side of those two 10ths, that’s the goal.”

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