INDIANAPOLIS — The IndyCar Series is finally going to be represented during the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals — thanks to Conor Daly’s spirit and David Byrd’s sponsorship.

Byrd has put together a two-race deal for Daly to run the dirt indoors at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Ill., on Dec. 15 and Jan. 14-19 at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center.

“I got a taste last September at IMS and the Chili Bowl is such a cool event and I want to try it,” said Daly, who ran the USAC midget race honoring Bryan Clauson last fall at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I don’t have any great expectations, but I liked trying the dirt and I’ll get some laps at DuQuoin before the Chili Bowl, so that will help.

“Thanks to David for putting this deal together. Heck, the only cars I can get hired in right now are midgets, so let’s do it.”

Byrd, who twice helped Clauson run the Indianapolis 500 in addition to supporting his USAC racing, likes Daly’s enthusiasm.

Conor Daly made his midget debut during the BC39 earlier this year. (IndyCar Photo)

“To step out of your comfort zone and try the dirt shows me he’s a racer,” said the son of longtime Indy sponsor/car owner Jonathan Byrd. “We’re renting a car from Jody Rosenboom of Iowa, and it’s a good car for a beginner, and hopefully, Conor can get 30 to 40 laps under his belt at DuQuoin.

“He wasn’t gung-ho about DuQuoin because it’s on his birthday and he already had plans, but then he started thinking about getting more practice and decided it would be worth it.”

Last season Daly drove for Dale Coyne at Indy with backing from the Air Force and then ran three times for Harding Racing, qualifying 13th and 14th at Toronto and Mid-Ohio.

“I’m working on various partners and sponsors for 2019 and this is a big week, so hopefully I’ll have something good to talk about soon,” said the 27-year-old Noblesville native.

Byrd, who intends to help field a car again for James Davison this May, has been a staunch supporter of USAC racers. He got USAC sprint champ Chris Windom an Indy Lights ride last May at IMS, and wants to try and run Windom there again next year. He’s also supporting Kevin Thomas Jr in three USAC divisions and wants to get him in a Lights car in the future.

This story appears on courtesy of Robin Miller and