INDIANAPOLIS – Conor Daly had a hectic final hour of Saturday’s Indianapolis 500 Time Trials. The second generation driver initially qualified his car in the field of 33 but he was later bumped out. Then, he went out again, this time getting his way back into the field. Unfortunately, he was 33rd again. He’d get bumped.
But, ultimately, he got his way back in with four gutsy laps turning in a four-lap average of 224.874 mph in his No. 17 Honda. He was 32nd quickest in the 33 cars that will advance to Sunday. The drawback though, is that he bumped out his best friend James Hinchcliffe in the process. Hinch, would never make it back in. Daly, while happy to be in the race now, he is also extremely gutted for his friend to not be in the show with him. He said so in Gasoline Alley.
The show goes on though and he has to focus on his program and how grueling the final 60 or so minutes were for him. He had the pace on Friday then had something go wrong with his car. They found the issue but it took two more runs to get him in. It’s a day that takes years off people’s lives.
“Man, it’s not something that I want to go through again,” Daly said after qualifying. “It was just a shame. The most disappointing part was that we were pretty good yesterday. We were high 226s by ourselves. This was the most confident I’ve been going into a qualifying day.
“We found two issues with the car after the first run so we kind of knew what was plaguing us. We had to go a little conservative so we put a little more downforce in the car and ending up probably not needing it. I put my foot to the absolute floor and tried to adjust the tools as much as I could to put it to the absolute edge and I’ve never had to do that before here in qualifying. I hate it but this effort needed this. We’d like to grow this to more but we needed this.”
Daly, said that he just wishes that fans could know just how hard it is to qualify here. While driver makes a huge difference yes, there’s a number of other factors that do too.
“It’s hard because I know I can do it,” said Daly. “This place is just hard. It’s not just about the driver. It has to be a total package to this thing and people just don’t realize that. You hate to see people go home like that but it’s just such a tough thing to do and make four laps like that to the best of your ability.”