MADISON, Ill – Conor Daly told us on Friday night that if he didn’t have such a bad qualifying draw due to his cars’ entrant points standing, mixed with bad luck from oil leaking on the track from a vintage race car minutes before qualifying started, then he would have definitely had a much better starting spot.
Instead, Daly qualified 18th on a slick track.
But, he backed up his words in leading the 22 drivers on the speed chart in final practice later on in the night. His No. 59 Chevrolet was a rocketship. Daly proved that in the race itself too.
When asked how he will attack the start of the race in an event that has seen a first lap crash in both years since the return, Daly didn’t balk. He knew this was potentially his last shot in this car and with only one more audition next month, it was his chance to prove he belongs.
“For me, it’s a very important race for me and I need to have a good one,” said Daly following his qualifying run. “I’ll go really, really hard and really, really aggressive because I need to. Go big or go home for sure.”
The Carlin driver did just that. He went from 18th to a sixth place finish for his best result of the season in five tries. All five of Daly’s starts have been on ovals and all five saw him come 13th or better in each.
It started with a 10th place finish in the Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport. When Max Chilton decided to step away from the series on ovals, Daly was tabbed as his replacement.
The Noblesville native finished 11th at Texas, 13th in Iowa and 11th again last weekend in Pocono. On Saturday night, he earned his second top 10 finish in as many tries at World Wide Technology Raceway as he also finished fifth in the 2017 Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
Now, Daly doesn’t have anything lined up for next weekend but will return to his Andretti seat for the season finale at Laguna Seca.