Taking over the #20 ECR-Chevrolet entry from Daly, Hunter-Reay, aged 42, steps in after Daly lost his position following the first seven races of the 2023 season. The team aimed for a change of direction and better performance, leading to Daly’s departure.
Hunter-Reay’s sole IndyCar start in the last two seasons occurred at the Indianapolis 500 in May, where he finished 11th in a one-off race for Dreyer and Reinbold. Despite that, he remained involved in the paddock as an advisor to the Juncos Hollinger Racing team. Additionally, he was ready to replace Alex Palou at Chip Ganassi Racing if a legal dispute with McLaren had escalated last year.
As the 2012 series champion and winner of the 2014 Indy 500, Hunter-Reay returns full-time with ECR starting from the Road America event this weekend.
“It’s a tough situation, especially in the middle of the season, and I empathize with Conor,” said Hunter-Reay. “I’ve experienced both ends of this deal, multiple times in some cases.
“I’m a big fan of his, and I hope he’ll return to the IndyCar Series soon, where he undoubtedly belongs.
“This sport is brutal. My career has been a journey, experiencing every possible outcome: being bumped in or out at Indy, starting on the front row, and winning races.
“It’s been a continuous journey, moving from team to team, as I mentioned, having been on either side of it.”
Hunter-Reay admitted that he has not yet spoken to Daly, who had been driving for Carpenter’s team for the past four years. He believes that personal matters like this require some time for healing.
“Such matters are personal,” he stated when asked about the awkwardness of replacing a friend. “I also talked about it with one of our close friends.
“I wanted to call Conor about it, but there’s also a need to cool off. I recall what happened after my own situation; it wasn’t necessarily the ideal scenario to happen right away.
“I will handle it appropriately. Conor is a friend. I believe he is a fantastic driver, and I genuinely think he will return at some point. I hope that happens soon.”
Drawing from his own experiences, such as losing his drive at Andretti Autosport to Romain Grosjean in 2022 and being cut from the Rocketsports Champ Car team near the end of the 2005 season, Hunter-Reay emphasized the importance of Daly maintaining belief in his driving skills and potential.
“The key thing is to persevere,” he added. “This applies to every driver, including the young ones out there.
“You’re just one weekend away from the next opportunity, and it’s crucial to maintain confidence in yourself and exhibit tenacity and persistence. That’s what I’ve always done, and I have no doubt that he will too.
“He’s a fighter, just like me, and he is undoubtedly a part of IndyCar.”
Instead of competing in IndyCar, Daly will participate in the Nitrocross opener in Oklahoma this weekend, driving a car run by Dreyer and Reinbold.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about IndyCar exit
What led to Conor Daly’s exit from IndyCar?
Conor Daly’s exit from IndyCar was a result of his team, Ed Carpenter Racing, seeking a change of direction and improved results after the first seven races of the 2023 season.
Who replaced Conor Daly in the #20 ECR-Chevrolet entry?
Ryan Hunter-Reay replaced Conor Daly in the #20 ECR-Chevrolet entry for the remainder of the season starting from the Road America event.
How has Ryan Hunter-Reay been involved in IndyCar despite limited starts?
Although Ryan Hunter-Reay had limited starts in the past two seasons, he remained active in the paddock as an advisor to the Juncos Hollinger Racing team. Additionally, he was on-call to replace Alex Palou at Chip Ganassi Racing in a legal battle over his services with McLaren.
How did Ryan Hunter-Reay describe the situation and Daly’s exit?
Ryan Hunter-Reay acknowledged the tough and brutal nature of IndyCar, expressing empathy for Daly’s mid-season exit. He emphasized that he has experienced similar situations in his career and believes Daly will make a comeback to the IndyCar series.
What event will Conor Daly be racing in instead of IndyCar?
Conor Daly will be racing in the Nitrocross opener in Oklahoma this weekend, driving a car run by Dreyer and Reinbold.
More about IndyCar exit
- Hunter-Reay to Replace Daly in ECR-Chevrolet – IndyCar official website article on Ryan Hunter-Reay replacing Conor Daly in the #20 ECR-Chevrolet entry.
- Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Career Statistics – Racing-Reference.info page providing career statistics and information about Ryan Hunter-Reay.
- Conor Daly’s Profile on Ed Carpenter Racing – Official team website page featuring Conor Daly’s profile as a driver for Ed Carpenter Racing.
- Nitrocross Official Website – The official website of the Nitrocross event that Conor Daly will be participating in instead of IndyCar.