At this time last year, Conor Daly was gearing up for the first race of Season 1 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge at Watkins Glen International by using a simple steering wheel and pedals he had stored in a box.
Though he had been an avid gamer in his free time, Daly was new to iRacing, and the impressive “rigs” that simulate the real-life feel of an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car weren’t on his radar. Even with the simple setup, which put him at a competitive disadvantage, Daly scored two top-10 finishes, including second in the season finale at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
The world took note of his performance – most notably, Logitech. Daly said after the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge and the LCQ League, a private iRacing league that featured motorsports and action sports athletes driving cars of all disciplines, he received an email from people at gaming and computer peripherals company Logitech expressing interest in forming a partnership to promote their new products.
“They had a new steering wheel they wanted to promote, the G923 wheel, and basically all the Logitech G equipment, which is very good stuff,” Daly said. “So, we linked up together, and it’s been super cool to have an official stream partner. It makes it feel more official, more exciting, and they’ve been awesome. They love racing.”
In October, Daly announced the partnership with the computer software company’s brand that focuses on advanced gaming technology and gear. Now, Daly has a sweet setup that will help him excel when he hits the track at 6:30 p.m. (ET) this Thursday for Race 2 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge from the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway oval.
Daly, who drives the No. 20 Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing on road and street courses in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, also will have a proper seat and chassis, sent to him by Allinsports Racing Simulators, to go along with his Logitech equipment.
“It’s great stuff,” he said. “It’s better than what I had for the last iRacing Challenge, which is great. It should be a lot of fun.”
Daly is eager for Thursday night’s event, which fans can watch live on INDYCAR.com, INDYCAR’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, and iRacing’s YouTube channel. His excitement stems from the fact that this is an oval race, which he believes he excels at compared to road courses, which he finds to be a challenge.
He said he plans to start practicing for the race on the 1.5-mile oval Tuesday night, for a couple reasons. One, sponsor commitments with the U.S. Air Force have kept him busy. Secondly, he said he was under the impression the INDYCAR paddock was not going to spend as much time practicing and preparing for the races in Season 2 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.
Daly, INDYCAR’s resident comedian who received the award for “Best iRacing Moment” at the end-of-season INDYCAR Virtual Victory Lap, deadpanned that he realized he was wrong when he watched last week’s event from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which was won by Alex Palou.
“I watched the first round last week; I saw how many practice laps everyone was doing, and I thought we all agreed we weren’t going to practice this much,” he said. “But it turns out everyone has been on every single day, like Scott McLaughlin.
“Not a lot of practice for me, and not a lot of time dedicated to it because of real life, thankfully, but I’m excited for it. It’ll be a lot of fun. I think the oval racing on iRacing is really, really exciting. There’s a lot of cool stuff that has been added since we all last raced together on an oval. I’ll give everyone a run for their money, for sure.”
Now, About That Bison
Last week, Daly made noise on Twitter when he asked the internet if he could ride a bison into driver introductions for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 30.
Daly said the conversation started at fellow INDYCAR driver Marco Andretti’s house, whom he visited for Andretti’s birthday. They were discussing the most American animals of all time, as one does when celebrating someone’s birthday, and the conversation escalated from there.
“A bison was brought up, and I said, ‘You know, bison do seem like some very American animals,’” he said. “I asked his friend, ‘Do you think we could bring a bison to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I could ride it to driver intros?’ And one of his friends said he had a bison, and he said, ‘Yeah, I can maybe bring one to the Speedway.’
“It escalated from there, and I thought this was a great question for the internet. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the internet knows everything. It turns out I got some incredibly friendly advice from some very smart people, Dale Earnhardt Jr. being a man who owns animals of this nature, which does not surprise me in the slightest, and you know what, maybe that’s the answer that we needed. It would’ve been an exciting run, but I think we have to table that idea, at least for now. Maybe this will be the year of befriending bison. Everything is on the table at this point.”