Family involvement in motorsports — the Andrettis and Unsers among many — isn’t unusual. But there’s nothing quite like the family structure surrounding Conor Daly.
Daly, 24, for the first time is contesting the full Verizon IndyCar Series schedule with Dale Coyne’s Honda team. There to offer guidance and support is Daly’s father, Derek, who drove in Formula One, IndyCar and endurance sports car races before becoming a TV commentator.
His mother, Beth, works in sports marketing and won a novice-class jet ski world title in 1990.
His step-father, Doug Boles, is president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, overseeing a major facility improvement project while gearing up for the Indy 500’s 100th running on May 29.
“We all love racing and I’m lucky to be in a family, top-to-bottom, who all appreciate racing," Daly said before heading to Phoenix International Raceway for Saturday night's Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix. “I think they all appreciate it as much as I do now that I have a full-time ride and especially in the year of the 100th Indianapolis 500.
“They know how hard it has been to get to this point and how many ups and the downs we’ve had going through this journey. It’s really cool to see how happy my mom and dad and brothers, all my family, are because they know what a crazy road it’s been to get here."
The original plan was for Conor Daly to be the next hope for an American world championship in Formula One. He competed in several U.S. development series before going to Europe and GP3, Formula One’s support series. The Sahara Force India F1 team funded him, with the requirement he win the 2013 GP3 championship. He led the standings until being caught up in an accident in the second-to-last event.
“One race sort of ended my European career," he said.
Daly drove for A.J. Foyt in the 2013 Indy 500 and contested five IndyCar races last season. That led to his place on Coyne’s Jonathan Byrd's Hospitality team, and in the season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., pit stop strategy allowed him to lead 15 laps and finish 13th. Daly said he learned a lot racing at the front, especially from winner Juan Pablo Montoya, known for his aggressive style. Michael Knight/AZCentral