The Dale Coyne Racing team’s revolving door keeps spinning at this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, with its #18 entry gettings its third driver in as many days.
Former GP3 and GP2 Series racer Conor Daly is the latest driver to get behind the wheel in the car, after recently-appointed driver Rocky Moran Jr was injured in Friday’s second practice session, breaking his thumb in a collision with Carlos Muñoz at Turn 1.
Moran Jr’s appointment – at the behest of incumbent driver Carlos Huertas – was a something of a surprise announcement, even for a team like Dale Coyne Racing, which has a rather unenviable reputation for running pay drivers of questionable talent.
The 35-year-old American – the son of former IndyCar racer Rocky Moran Sr – hasn’t raced a single-seater race car in almost ten years, when he competed with limited success in the Toyota Atlantic series in the early 2000s. Since then, he’s dabbled in sports cars and GrandAm racing, without the results that would suggest he’s IndyCar material.
It was quickly proven in practice where he was well off-the-pace around the 1.9-mile Long Beach street circuit – a track he knows well – and subsequently broke his thumb in the second practice session.
His IndyCar Series debut over before it even began, Dale Coyne made a hurried call to Conor Daly, who has been sniffing around for a full-time IndyCar Series drive since his European open-wheel prospects came to nought after a frustrating season with the Venezuela Lazarus GP2 Series team last year.
“This is why I bring my stuff to the track every week and this is why I’m here and this is why I’m ready,” the 23-year-old said of his last-minute opportunity.
“I can’t thank Dale enough for the call, to be able to get out here and do some laps and get in the game. W’ll see what happens, but I’m excited for the opportunity.”
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