Conor Daly and the U.S. Air Force have joined Ed Carpenter Racing for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season.
The Indianapolis-based team announced Monday that Daly will drive the No. 20 Chevrolet on road courses and street circuits – Ed Carpenter will drive it on the oval tracks -- and Daly will drive the team’s third entry in the 104th Indianapolis 500.
Previously, ECR announced that Rinus VeeKay’s first NTT IndyCar Series season will be in the No. 21 car.
The U.S. Air Force will continue a partnership with Daly that originated three years ago. Beginning with the Indianapolis 500 in 2018, the program expanded to include this year’s 500 and the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
In 2020, Daly will race a U.S. Air Force Chevrolet in 13 of 17 events. For the 12 road and street course events, Daly’s No. 20 will continue to pay tribute to fighter jets throughout America’s Air Force history. Similar to his striking 2019 livery, the car will showcase the iconic shark teeth war paint often carried into battle by the A-10 Thunderbolt, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 Lightning. With Carpenter driving the No. 20 in the 500, Daly’s entry for Memorial Day weekend will feature a new number and a special edition livery.
"I am so thankful for the loyalty the U.S. Air Force has demonstrated along with the faith in me to get the job done," Daly said. "This has been an incredible relationship to see grow and get stronger as we continue to add races to our program. I couldn't be happier to be getting one more step closer to full-time Indy car competition."
Daly is from Noblesville, Ind., which gives ECR an all-Indiana pairing. Carpenter is from Indianapolis.
"As an Indiana kid, it just feels right to be getting a chance with Ed Carpenter Racing," Daly said. "This team has done such an incredible job over the years, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ed and this group. I look forward to entering a season feeling fully prepared with simulator time and testing for the first time in several years."
Daly and the team will work alongside the U.S. Air Force to use Indy car racing to inspire young adults, communicate the service's mission and build awareness about career opportunities.
“The U.S. Air Force is fortunate to have some incredible partners and ambassadors for our brand and Conor is certainly one of them,” said Major Ross McKnight, Chief of Events Marketing for Air Force Recruiting. “We are proud of the effort and appreciative of the supportive partners that have made the Air Force Indy car program so successful. The results and direct correlation between STEM principles, speed, teamwork, risk, and precision skill drive our continued investment. We are excited for the 2020 season with Ed Carpenter Racing and Conor Daly.”
The success of 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 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 Air Force to leverage and establish STEM correlations with Indy car racing, including teamwork, speed, technology, engineering, math and excellence in competition.
Said Carpenter: "I am extremely proud and excited to welcome Conor Daly and the U.S. Air Force to Ed Carpenter Racing. I have seen Conor grow and mature over the course of his career and am confident that his best years are yet to come. It is a huge honor to represent the men and women who serve in the U.S. Air Force and we hope to make them proud this season.”
Daly climbed into a kart for the first time at the age of 10. Within five years, he was competing in both United States and international open-wheel ladder systems. He found success in each series, earning the Skip Barber National Championship, an Indy Pro 2000 championship and wins in FIA Formula 3. He reached Indy Lights in the U.S. and Formula 2 in Europe before deciding to concentrate solely on American motorsports in 2015. Full-time NTT IndyCar Series seasons followed in 2016 and 2017. He supplemented his 2018 and 2019 Indianapolis 500 appearances by becoming one of the most trusted reserve drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series. In the past two seasons, five different teams have called upon Daly for 11 different race weekends.
Daly used 2019 to continuously sharpen his skills by racing in three different disciplines. The 27-year-old became a three-time race winner in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and earned a third-place finish in the Super Trofeo World Finals in Spain. After competing in a USAC Midget for the first time last year, Daly added more dirt track experience in 2019 with the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, Driven2SaveLives BC39 at The Dirt Track at IMS and the Western World Championships. In the NTT IndyCar Series, Daly competed in seven races with three teams, recording a best finish of sixth at WorldWide Technology Raceway at Gateway. He had his most successful Month of May to date, setting the fastest lap of all practice sessions and parlaying that speed into a career-best 500 finish of 10th.
Watch This: Daly's impressive charge at Gateway
Since its inception in 2012, ECR has raced exclusively in the NTT IndyCar Series. The Indianapolis-based team has shown versatility by earning seven wins across each style of track the series competes on - street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR currently boasts 28 top-five finishes, 20 of which have been podiums. Daly is now a part of the only multi-car team to have its entire lineup make a run for the coveted pole position at the 2019 Indianapolis 500 with cars ultimately starting second, third and fourth. At least one ECR Chevrolet has qualified on the front row of the 500 six of the past seven years, including Carpenter’s three pole positions.
The upcoming NTT IndyCar Series season will open March 15, 2020 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.