Coyne happy with Daly’s star turn in GP Indy

Dale Coyne says he was impressed with Conor Daly’s performance on the Indianapolis road course which saw the DCR driver lead for 14 laps.

Coyne happy with Daly’s star turn in GP Indy
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda with Dale Coyne
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Gabby Chaves, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Gabby Chaves, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

The #18 Dale Coyne Racing-Honda fell to sixth place by the checkered flag, but team owner Coyne told Motorsport.com that Daly’s pass for the lead on Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves following a restart had made it a memorable performance.

“Any time you can pass Helio at Indianapolis is a good day!” joked Coyne. “But I knew we had a chance when Helio bunched the field coming to the green.

“He had slowed down too much, and then he got wheelspin when he hit the gas, so Conor had more momentum and was able to slipstream him down the straight.”

Although Coyne admitted it was going off-strategy early on that had vaulted Daly toward the front when the full-course caution flew on lap 36, he said Daly’s pace was legitimate.

“Conor’s fastest lap was fifth fastest overall, I think, and he only got passed at the end because he ran out of push-to-pass,” he said. “But I thought he fought hard and fair. Didn’t risk the car by doing anything stupid, knew when he’d lost a corner. He was very good.”

Given the course’s 0.62-mile (1km) front straight and the worries that several HPD runners had expressed before the weekend about losing out to Chevrolet, Coyne said setting aerodynamic trim levels had been crucial to the success of the car.

“We had trimmed our cars out, and we were strong by the end of the straights, but not that good in the corners,” he explained. “Coming onto the straights, we weren’t that strong so you saw [Charlie] Kimball go around us like we were standing still, long before the brake zone.

“Running low downforce increases tire wear, because the car’s sliding more, but the cool temperatures reduced that. Although it was strange because there were a lot of marbles out there. There was a lot of pickup on the tires.”  

Chaves was “rusty”

Gabby Chaves’ last-minute deal to replace Luca Filippi in the #19 car is still only for the two races at IMS, according to Coyne, but the team owner said he was pleased the Colombian had been able to race the car before the “500.”

“He was rusty, he admitted that,” said Coyne, “but I think he learned a lot – or re-learned a lot. Unfortunately when Gabby pitted, he came out right behind Pagenaud. If he’d been ahead, he would have gotten the wave around and we’d have been running 2-3 for that restart.

“But no matter. He did a decent job.

“It was good to have him race the car before we go into 500 practice,” Coyne added. “Totally different tracks but he got to work with the team, practice pitstops, all the detail stuff.”

Coyne will have four cars in the 100th running of the Indy 500, for Daly, Chaves, Pippa Mann and Bryan Clauson.

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