INDIANAPOLIS -- Conor Daly got off to a great start in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the race didn’t end as well as it began.
Daly, who started 15th in the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet, was climbing through the field and was 10th before his first stop on lap 19. The team opted for the red-rimmed (softer) alternate tires again (he started on them) and he quickly moved into eighth and was dicing with James Hinchcliffe for seventh. However, he began complaining of losing rear grip halfway through the stint and by the time of his second stop, he had slipped back to 11th.
His second stop was quicker than the first—under eight seconds but a technical issue caused him to stall in the pit lane, turning his 7.7-second stop into a 20-second one. It was also the stop in which the team put on the harder primary tires (teams have to run both of types of tires in the race per the rules) so the lap times were slower as well. The stop dropped him to 17th on the track. Having to save fuel so they could make it to the end of the 85 lap race with just one more stop also meant he couldn’t attack the course, despite putting on the softer red tires for the final stint. He had to settle for 17th.
“I was really happy with our start and first stint, the car felt okay,” Daly said. “I was able to fight with Hinch and Spencer and some guys up there, but I think we ran into a problem with the brakes a little bit after the first stint. Seemed to start glazing them a little bit so it was difficult to stop. And then for some reason we stalled in the pits. We’ve struggled getting out of the pits all weekend so, in the end I should be able to recognize that, but I have no idea why we were having that issue so that was a shame. That really set us back and then from then on it was just damage control. We just kept losing the brakes a little bit. On reds the car was good but on blacks we didn’t have enough, on blacks we were too far off.”
Meanwhile, Carlos Munoz couldn’t find the speed he needed to run at the front in No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet.
Munoz, who started 18th, was up to 14th but he complained the car had no grip on the harder black compound (primary) tires. The team switched to the softer red tires on the first stop, but it didn’t make enough of a difference. He ultimately finished 15th.
“Another really hard race, really,” said a frustrated Munoz. “Our weekend started okay [Munoz was 10th in the first practice] and then got worse. I'm not really happy. Grip-wise, we just really lacked grip. It's a shame. Hopefully, we turn it around. Now we’re focusing on the Indy 500, we’ll see how our package is, but we are suffering. There's work that lies ahead so we just need to continue working hard.”
On a positive note, both ABC Supply teams were solid in the pits, having their best performance in the pits this year.
After leading for most of the day, Will Power went on to win the INDYCAR Grand Prix over Scott Dixon, a seemingly perfect finish to Power’s dominant weekend in Indianapolis. It was Power’s 30th victory. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third, his first podium of the year. The winner’s teammates rounded out the top five, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Next on the schedule is the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500, where Zach Veach will join the team with his #40 IWiT Champ car.
The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live on ABC-TV on Sunday, May 28.