While he is best known for his experience in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Conor Daly will be switching gears in August as he will make his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Road America.
“I’m excited about it," he told POPULAR SPEED. “It’s a whole new deal, whole new opportunity, and I’m just thankful for that chance in Lilly Diabetes giving me the shot. It’s going to be a steep learning curve, but I’m excited for it."
The opportunity comes about wanting to try something different while expanding his horizons and options at the same time.
“I think you’re always driven to want more and want to try more, and I think if you ask a lot of us here in this paddock in IndyCar, there’s a lot of guys who want to get out there at Road America, mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, stuff like that, because it is a very entertaining product," Daly said. “They’re really good drivers, the series is really competitive, and it just looks like a really good racing environment, like a good, proper race.
“We have an incredible product in the IndyCar Series, obviously, but so do they, certainly, on the road course side. So I was just excited to have that opportunity. I mean, road courses are my cup of tea, and that’s what I’d love to at least check out first before anything else."
Going into the event, Daly says the biggest challenge is going to be the “newness of everything," as the first practice session will be his first ever laps in a stock car.
Before heading there, though, he returned to the seat of a Verizon IndyCar Series, competing with Harding Racing at the Honda Indy Toronto. Daly was elected for the seat as the team tries out different drivers throughout the remaining of 2018 in trying to fill a second car at their organization next season.
Throughout the event, Daly battled hard, ultimately crossing the finish line with a 13th-place finish.
“It was tough to get back into the car for a road course after not being in a car for so long," he admitted. “I’m just thankful for the chance. We have a lot to do mechanically to figure out this car with heavy fuel loads. On low fuel, I think we were good, but at the end, I think we just needed to be better on heavy fuel loads, and needed to be a little bit better on the brakes."