Conor Daly will be returning to his same role last year with Ed Carpenter’s team. The popular Hoosier will once again drive the No. 20 Chevrolet on the road and street courses for the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season. Daly will also drive a third ECR entry in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. Funding from the United States Air Force continues and will sponsor the car for 10 of Daly’s 13 non-oval races. They will also be the primary sponsor on his Indy 500 car.
With the driver lineup now set at ECR, there are just two teams still to solidify their lineups for next season. Andretti Autosport is still expected to announce that Ryan Hunter-Reay will return in the No. 28 car with James Hinchcliffe expected to be the driver of the No. 88 machine. Dale Coyne Racing still has two seats to fill for the 2021 season. Carlin Racing is still up in the air as far as a second car for next season, as well as who will do the oval races in Max Chilton’s entry, which Daly did last season. The full press release from today is below.
[Ed Carpenter Racing Press Release]
Ed Carpenter Racing announced today that the U.S. Air Force and Conor Daly will remain with the team for the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season.
Daly will continue to drive ECR’s No. 20 Chevrolet for the road and street course events, 10 of which will carry the colors of the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, Daly will again race a U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for ECR in the Indianapolis 500. Daly and ECR continue to work alongside the U.S. Air Force to use the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to inspire young adults, communicate the service’s mission and build awareness about career opportunities.
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule consists of 13 road and street course events, all of which will feature Daly in ECR’s No. 20. The 10 races where the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet will be on track are set to be announced at a later date, as will the primary partner for Daly’s three other races. For the four oval events, Daly will hand the No. 20 back over to team owner Ed Carpenter. Daly will also drive a U.S. Air Force Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500, once again rounding out ECR’s three-car lineup.
“It feels incredible to have another year together with the U.S. Air Force and Ed Carpenter Racing,” stated Daly. “Continuity has always been helpful for me in my career; the fact that we are able to hit the ground running in 2021 already having experience together gives me a lot of confidence. Every day we learn more and develop a stronger relationship.”
Daly continued, “This would not be possible without the support of the U.S. Air Force, who have been an incredibly supportive and loyal partner. I want nothing more than to win races and compete for the entrant championship for the Airmen, the guys at ECR and my boss Ed, who has become a true friend of mine. I can’t wait to get back to work!”
The success of U.S. Air Force recruiting relies on a multi-layered marketing campaign at the local, regional and national level. Involvement in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES reflects the U.S. Air Force’s core values and has a positive impact on generating public awareness about the organization, its people and mission. The strategic partnership enables the U.S. Air Force to leverage and establish STEM correlations with Indy car racing, including teamwork, speed, technology, engineering, math and excellence in competition. Daly and ECR support the U.S. Air Force in its mission to inspire the nation’s brightest, most competitive young men and women for service.
“This partnership draws a parallel with how we fly, fight and win,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service. “Both organizations rely on the principles of science, technology, engineering and math to accomplish the mission. The technology that goes into these cars is similar to what we rely on when flying our fighter jets. Also, teamwork is especially important with the Air Force just like at the Indy 500. Everything just ties in perfectly with how we accomplish our respective missions. That’s what makes this a great partnership!”
Daly, who turned 29 on Tuesday, is continuing a partnership with the U.S. Air Force that originated four years ago. Beginning as a one-off 2018 Indianapolis 500 entry, Daly and the U.S. Air Force have grown to be synonymous in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Daly competed in the full 2020 schedule, splitting his talent between two teams. While Carpenter raced the No. 20 on ovals, Daly stepped into Carlin’s No. 59. In addition to four Top 10 finishes, Daly earned his first career pole position at Iowa Speedway. Over the past seven years, the Noblesville, Ind., native has competed in over 60 Indy car races. Known for a desire to sharpen his skills by racing in different disciplines, Daly made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut earlier this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Carpenter is thrilled with continuation of this year’s program. “It is a very exciting day to be able to announce the return of both the U.S. Air Force and Conor to Ed Carpenter Racing! We are looking forward to the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES, having the same driver lineup to continue our progression back to a race-winning and championship-contending organization.” He continued, “We are very grateful for the support of U.S. Air Force and honored to represent everything that they stand for. We’re thankful for the opportunity to inspire and engage the next generation of men and women who join the U.S. Air Force!”
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will be Ed Carpenter Racing’s 10th season of competition. ECR began as a single-car organization in 2012, expanding to two full-time entries in 2015. For the first time since having multiple entries, the team will enjoy the continuity of having the same driver lineup from the previous season. The No. 20 maintains its all-Hoosier lineup as both Carpenter and Daly are from Indiana. Carpenter, a three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner, will be driving in his 19th season of Indy car competition. Rinus VeeKay, 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year, remains the team’s full-time driver of the No. 21. The Dutchman’s debut season featured the best qualifying result by a teenager in Indianapolis 500 history, his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position and three Top 5 finishes. Carpenter, Daly and VeeKay make up the team’s three-car effort in the 2021 Indianapolis 500. The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season will open in the streets of St. Petersburg on March 7, 2021.