Young Daly recalled his first experiences at the track, saying, “In my early years I spent most of my time at ‘Racing Babies’ under the Tower Terrace suites watching the races because my whole family was busy working the race weekend. When I got older, no matter how hot it was I was always sitting in the front row of one of my Mom’s Tower Terrace suites watching every single lap of the race. The Indy 500 is part of my life; I love everything about the month of May.”
Although Conor’s father Derek, an ex-Formula One and IndyCar driver, retired from competition before Conor was old enough to watch, his family has remained active in motorsports.
“I’m thrilled that Conor was A.J.’s choice,” said Derek Daly, who is also Conor’s manager. “With A.J. and the engineering talent within the team it will be an ideal learning environment for Conor. This year’s 500 will be a highly emotional event for me and my family.”
Daly, who turned 21 two days after his Dec. 13 IndyCar test at Sebring (Fla.) Int’l Raceway, has spent the last two seasons competing in GP3, the European-based single-seater series which is a forerunner to Formula One. Daly has won in every series he has competed in, including GP3, Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda, and Skip Barber. He won national titles in the Mazda and Barber series.
For the senior Foyt, the decision to hire Daly was based on the positive experience in testing with him at Sebring.
“He ran well at Sebring when we needed someone to do some testing in the off season. He was fast, smooth, and didn’t get in trouble,” Foyt said. “When we made a change on the car he felt it. I found him to be very savvy on the chassis setups. In fact, when we made a minor change which was really nothing, he thought about it and said it felt no different. I told him that was the right answer because we didn’t do anything he’d be able to feel, so that impressed me too. I’ve run a lot of rookies at Indy and I think Conor will do a good job for us.”
Daly must pass two of the three phase speed test during ROP at Indy April 11. Drivers must run 10 laps at 200-205 mph, another 10 laps at 205-209 mph, and finally, 15 laps at 210+ mph. The drivers may complete the third phase during the first week of practice and must do so before attempting to qualify on Pole Day, May 18. The rain date for the ROP is April 12.