Conor Daly staked claim to “victory” on the first day of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ annual Content Day, and there were no objections.
Daly arrived at INDYCAR’s preseason content-gathering event sporting a puffy mullet prepared by a professional stylist early Thursday morning.
“The commitment level is admirable,” fellow driver Josef Newgarden said of the 7 a.m. appointment.
Daly’s hairstyle drew significant attention on social media, with Will Power among those posting about it. Power called it “awesome.” INDYCAR newcomer Scott McLaughlin, the three-time Virgin Australia Supercars champion, called it “majestic.”
It was 8:24 a.m. when Daly created an Instagram story showing off his new, if not temporary, look. He said there was enough hairspray on his head “to light a house,” but he insisted it all would fit in a helmet, if necessary. A neatly trimmed beard completed the presentation.
Daly said it was important for him to keep pace with Newgarden off the track as well as on it. He said Newgarden looks “like a Greek god,” so hearing that his longtime friend approved of the look was a bonus.
“I thought he looked amazing,” Newgarden said. “It’s not for me, but it fits him.
“He is on brand for Conor Daly.”
For a second season, Daly will compete in the road and street races, plus the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, for Ed Carpenter Racing. That translates to 14 of the season’s 17 races. He is hoping to add the other three races with another team. The most logical is Carlin, which has Max Chilton competing on the non-ovals outside of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I’m a ‘yes’ man,” Daly said of accepting opportunities to drive race cars. “I got that (approach) from Travis Pastrana.”
Fourteen INDYCAR drivers were put through Thursday’s Content Day paces at a downtown hotel, posing for photographs and being interviewed by broadcast and print media. The second half of the INDYCAR field will do the same Friday.
Other Thursday tidbits:
- Pietro Fittipaldi said his return to INDYCAR will begin with a test next month at Texas Motor Speedway. He will drive the oval races for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing as Formula One veteran Romain Grosjean does the street circuits and road courses. Fittipaldi last competed in INDYCAR in 2018 but only one of his six starts (Phoenix) came before he broke both legs in a World Endurance Championship race in Belgium.
- Grosjean will be in Honda’s INDYCAR simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana, on Friday before returning home to Switzerland. His next on-track INDYCAR test is March 29 at Sebring. He also said there are “high chances” he competes in INDYCAR’s Aug. 21 short-oval race at World Wide Technology Raceway, although a decision has not yet been made.
- Scott McLaughlin noted one of the biggest surprises to being an INDYCAR driver: Team Penske provides scooters for its drivers to use on race weekends. Also new: Having multiple teammates. McLaughlin had only one in Australia.
- Josef Newgarden is predicting the new Music City Grand Prix street race in Nashville will be a “ginormous” success. The event is set for Aug. 8.
- Helio Castroneves said there were several sports car habits he had to break when returning to an INDYCAR road course test Monday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “The weight of the car, the brakes, traction control,” he said. “Three years is a lot of time to learn new habits.”
- Ryan Hunter-Reay said he will miss Marco Andretti not competing regularly this season as they have been Andretti Autosport teammates since 2010. Andretti will compete in the “500.”
- Michael Andretti hasn’t said how many cars his organization will field in the Indianapolis 500, but Hunter-Reay took a guess. “Fourteen,” he said with a smile.
- Ed Carpenter, who will be part of Friday’s driver rotation on Content Day, will be happy to know that turning 40 as he did earlier in the week is wearing well on him. Said Daly: “He still looks like a young, athletic man.” (Note that Daly is employed by Carpenter!)
- Will Power also turned 40 this week. He spoke of having no hair loss or any change in his hair color. “Helio would be jealous,” he said.
- Colton Herta said he has spent the offseason focused on improving his fuel mileage while not sacrificing race speed. He noted that Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi went a lap farther than he did at Road America and the street race in St. Petersburg.
- Power and Herta had a brief hallway conversation about their love of drum playing. Herta said he has been able to play more lately since many of his The Zibs’ bandmates have been home from college due to the pandemic. Power was envious. “I really want to play in a band,” he said.