Conor Daly has his seat for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. The young American driver will pilot a third Honda entry for Dale Coyne Racing, in partnership with Thom Burns Racing. Daly’s No. 17 car will be sponsored by the United States Air Force, and features a fantastic red, white, and blue livery.
Daly returns to Coyne’s team, where he drove full-time in 2016 before moving to AJ Foyt Racing last year. He is expected to have three teammates in May; full-time drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Pietro Fittipaldi, with Pippa Mann likely to return in a DCR entry. This will be the fifth Indy 500 for Conor, with his best finish of 22nd coming in his first start back in 2013. His last two races ended early when he was collected in accidents. The full release from today is below.
[Dale Coyne Racing Press Release]
Dale Coyne Racing announced today that it will be running an entry for American driver Conor Daly at this year’s Indianapolis 500 in a joint entry with Thom Burns Racing, along with a partnership with the United States Air Force.
Daly, 26, from Noblesville, Indiana will look to make his fifth career start at the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil aboard the #17 Honda-powered Dallara chassis. The race is scheduled for May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The entry with Thom Burns Racing for Daly will be a third for the DCR team at this year’s race alongside its two full-time entries.
“We’re very happy to have Conor Daly back with us for the Indy 500,” commented DCR Team Owner Dale Coyne. “Conor has done a great job for us in the past and we hope to continue that this year at IMS. We also very much look forward to working with Thom Burns Racing and we’re extremely pleased and honored to be partnered and representing the United States Air Force.”
The Air Force’s partnership with co-entrants Dale Coyne Racing and Thom Burns Racing, and its initial involvement with the Indianapolis 500 will help the Air Force Recruiting Service to meet its mission to inspire the nation’s brightest, most competitive young men and women for service. The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most popular sporting events in the United States, with a large, patriotic fan base – providing an inspiring and engaging opportunity for recruitment.
“We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Dale Coyne Racing and with the United States Air Force and to be back at Indianapolis again in 2018,” co-entrant Thom Burns said. “It goes without saying that the Memorial Day Weekend is a very special time, and for many reasons. The Speedway has always been my dream and to bring an American icon like the Air Force here for Conor Daly gives me great pride. The Air Force helps to protect our freedom so that we can have the ability to participate in ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ the Indianapolis 500.”
“It is our duty and privilege to assist with the recruiting efforts of the Air Force. Potential recruits will not only find us on the track but out in the community, as well, as we build awareness of the tremendous career opportunities that the Air Force provides.”
Burns, who owns an Indianapolis-based property development company, is launching Thom Burns Racing with experience gained from partnerships and many prominent Indianapolis 500 entries over the last 30 years. Burns has been involved since 1987 with entries for drivers including 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier, 1996 IndyCar co-champion Scott Sharp, Steve Chassey, Dominic Dobson and Jeff Andretti. Burns also was instrumental in forming standout CART team PacWest Racing with Bruce McCaw in the 1990s.
Daly comes to Dale Coyne Racing with Thom Burns Racing after a 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season in which he recorded four top-10 finishes. His best results came on ovals, with a season-best fifth at Gateway and seventh at Texas.
This year’s Indy 500 will mark the return to Dale Coyne Racing for Daly who competed full-time with the team in 2016. The popular American driver scored a career-best second place finish in Race 1 at Detroit with DCR.
Daly also made headlines during the offseason for his extended appearance on the hit CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race,” with friend and fellow racer Alexander Rossi.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to represent the Air Force at the Indianapolis 500,” Daly said. “Memorial Day Weekend is an incredible time of appreciation for those who serve our country. I can’t thank Dale Coyne enough for having me back on the team and Thom Burns enough for bringing this program together with the Air Force to give us a fighting chance at the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.
“In conjunction with an incredible team of people at Dale Coyne Racing that I’ve had the pleasure of working with before, I think we will have a great opportunity to shine.”
The Air Force is entering its first partnership with an Indianapolis 500 team because the principles of speed, teamwork and technology from the race and Verizon IndyCar Series are an ideal match for the Air Force’s target audience.
“The Indianapolis 500 is a great venue to inspire young adults, communicate our mission and build awareness about career opportunities within the Air Force,” said Major Ross McKnight, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch. “The strategic partnership enables the Air Force to leverage the STEM aspects of INDYCAR and the shared principles of teamwork, speed and competition.
“This partnership with Dale Coyne Racing, Thom Burns Racing and talented American driver Conor Daly at the Indianapolis 500 reflects the core values of the Air Force perfectly.”