26 May 2015
IndyCar: Schmidt hands Conor Daly double date at Detroit
Conor Daly will deputise at Schmidt Peterson Motorsport for the injured James Hinchcliffe in this weekend's Detroit Belle Isle doubleheader.
Conor Daly has been tapped as the replacement driver for the #5 Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car for this upcoming weekend's doubleheader weekend at Detroit Belle Isle.
Daly steps in for James Hinchcliffe, who is recovering from surgery for injuries sustained in a practice crash eight days ago on Indianapolis Motor Speedway while preparing for the Indianapolis 500. Hinchcliffe is already up and around and is expected to make a full recovery, but is still in hospital and no timeline has yet been given for when he will be fit enough to return to competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
In the meantime, the team has opted to hold on to former GP2 and GP3 star Daly for at least the next event on the calendar. The 23-year-old Indiana native was with SPM at Indianapolis and had qualified the #43 car on the grid in 23rd place for the Indy 500, but unfortunately never made it to the start line after the back of the car caught fire on the formation lap.
"We had a fuel leak that caused a fire in the back of the car and burned some key items, so sadly, that was our end of the race before it even started," said Daly on Sunday. "It was a real shame for sure. These things happen in racing, though, so all we can do is look forward."
He's now been quickly rewarded by team owner Sam Schmidt for his stoicism on Sunday with at least two more IndyCar races this year with the two outings in the #5 at Detroit.
"Conor drove for our Indy Lights team in 2011 and was leading in the championship points when he left for Europe to compete in GP3," noted Schmidt. "We've been impressed with what we've seen from him and after the bad luck at Indy, we're pleased to give a young, American, uprising star another opportunity to compete.”
It'll be Daly's third different car in the series this year after he also stood in at 24 hours notice for Dale Coyne Racing at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, when scheduled driver Rocky Moran Jr. injured his hand in practice.
“I'm honoured to have the opportunity to fill in for my close friend James this weekend,” said Daly. “I definitely want to thank Arrow Electronics, Lucas oil and all the team sponsors for giving me this shot.
I can't wait to continue working with the Schmidt Peterson guys and do the best job I can to keep James' seat warm," he added.
This weekend's 'Dual in Detroit' races are the seventh and eight rounds on the Verizon IndyCar Series 16-race schedule in 2015. Belle Isle Raceway was the site of SPM's first IndyCar victory, when Simon Pagenaud took the chequered flag in 2013. The French driver has now departed the team and is currently part of Penske's four-car line-up this season.
Practice for this week's two races on the 2.36-mile, 14-turn circuit will be held on Friday at 10.35am ET (3.35pm BST), with qualifying for race 1 taking place in the afternoon at 3.40pm ET (8.40pm BST).
The drivers get a second half-hour warm-up practice on Saturday morning at 8.55am ET (1.55pm BST) before the first race of the weekend scheduled to start at 3.50pm ET (8.50pm BST). Sunday sees a second qualifying schedule at 11.25am ET (4.25pm BST) with the race once again getting underway at 3.50pm ET (8.50pm BST).
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