Monday, June 24, 2024

Conor Daly to make Nitrocross debut in Oklahoma

Conor Daly lost his NTT IndyCar Series ride with Ed Carpenter Racing just seven races into the season and was replaced by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who ran the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Ironically, Daly will now drive for DRR, albeit in a slightly different discipline from what he is used to.

On Monday, DRR’s rallycross division Dreyer & Reinbold Racing JC announced Daly will compete in this weekend’s Nitrocross 2023/24 season opener at MidAmerica Outdoors, driving the #24 FC1-X in the premier Group E category. The series, a rebrand from Nitro Rallycross, is run by Daly’s close friend Travis Pastrana.

“The chance to test my abilities in this intense, adrenaline-fueled series is something I’ve been anticipating,” said Daly. “I’m grateful to the team for believing in me and providing this incredible opportunity. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and showcase what we can achieve together. I also want to thank Travis Pastrana and Nitrocross for all of their help and effort in getting this programme together.”

Although Daly has spent much of his career in open-wheel racing, including being an IndyCar regular for a decade, he has dabbled in other disciplines in recent years. Most notably, he began competing in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022 and qualified for the Daytona 500 in February.

Prior to his sudden departure from ECR, he was twentieth in the IndyCar standings with a best finish of eighth at the Indy 500. He had been racing for teh team since 2020, when he was splitting the full calendar between the team and Carlin.

Daly and Pastrana have frequently competed against each other in iRacing and NASCAR, the latter including making their Daytona 500 débuts together.

“His top-flight résumé in multiple disciplines, including IndyCar, NASCAR, and more, shows the excitement of motorsport’s best for Nitrocross’ unique brand of high-adrenaline racing,” commented Nitrocross president Brett Clarke. “We’ve been looking to have Conor in the series for a number of years now and we’re excited to make this happen on the much-anticipated new track at MidAmerica Outdoors.

“Travis and Conor have built up a close relationship since the pandemic, challenging each other in everything from iRacing, Nitro Circus’ offshore power boat invitational, 24 Hours of LeMons, all the way to the Daytona 500. We look forward to seeing him put on a show and compete against Travis and a stacked field in Oklahoma.”

Daly’s car will be sponsored by We The People Holsters, Savage for Him, and Eight Eleven. BitNile, whom Daly has credited for saving for saving his career by backing him in IndyCar and NASCAR, will also be present on the #24.

Daly joins a growing pool of drivers with NASCAR experience to have competed in Nitrocross which also includes Pastrana himself, Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric, Chase Elliott, and Scott Speed (Jenson Button‘s NASCAR début came after his brief stint in rallycross). Sage Karam has a similar portfolio to Daly as he has raced in both IndyCar and NASCAR while also finishing runner-up in the 2021 Nitro NEXT championship.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing JC has also retained defending champion Robin Larsson and runner-up Andreas Bakkerud for the 2023/24 season.