P2POT 11 - Dale Coyne Driver Announcement
Dale Coyne Racing announced at the Performance and Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis that Conor Daly and Bryan Clauson will be driving the Nos. 18 and 88 for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016. The pair will team up to fill two seats of the four-car effort for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Alongside Clauson and Daly, Pippa Mann is slated to pilot a third car for the race with the fourth yet to be named.
In addition to the Indianapolis 500, Conor Daly will drive the No. 18 DCR Honda Dallara for the entire season next year with Jonathan Byrd's Hospitality & Restaurant Group on the side of the car. This marks Daly's first full season ride in the Verizon INDYCAR Series, after a respectful run of finishes last year in various one-off events. Daly has also seen a successful career in the Mazda Road to Indy as well as Europe's Formula 1 feeder series, GP2.
Bryan Clauson will be attempting his third Indianapolis 500 while having qualified and raced in the event in 2012 and 2015. Jonathan Byrd's Racing teamed with KVSH Racing last year to provide the opportunity for Clauson, and the team will stay together to partner with Dale Coyne Racing for the one-off event in 2016 as Jonathan Byrd's sponsorship will be used on the No. 88 car at Indianapolis, leaving Coyne with many options to choose from for Daly's No. 18 machine.
No word was released yet about the second full-season entry and who will be driving that car. Coyne mentioned that he's seeking a driver with backing to fund the opportunity. Despite that one question mark remaining, the Coyne team was in good spirits for this untypically early driver announcement for DCR. "We normally save that till Thursday morning before the first race," Coyne joked about his driver announcement. In recent years, the team has seen relatively late announcements for their drivers, but 2016 looks promising with such an early announcement.
Testing for Conor Daly starts as early as next week at Sebring. The team saw some success last year with Tristan Vautier after establishing a more stable relationship, the hope is that the trend will continue with Daly's full time announcement. Testing for Clauson's No. 88 machine will begin in May on Opening Day with the rest of the Indianapolis 500 entries for the 100th running of the race.
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