Sports Xtra: Conor Daly's goal: Entertain with iRacing

Conor Daly.JPG
Posted at 9:44 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 21:44:43-04

INDIANAPOLIS — IndyCar is still aiming to open its season in Detroit on May 30. Until then, they started a six-event schedule of iRacing.

If nothing else, it's a chance for fans to enjoy 'the Daly experience.'

The sun was out in St. Petersburg and it seemed to be the perfect conditions to start the IndyCar season. But then the crews and drivers learned that COVID-19 would cancel the first four races.

"What do I think?" driver Conor Daly said. "I have no idea."

A few days after IndyCar's first iRace challenge, virtual racing at historic Watkins Glen, that sentiment hasn't really changed.

"Yeah, who would have thought?" Daly said. "I'll be honest, I didn't know a lot of the drivers knew what video games were. Now, we're all playing them against each other."

Saturday's virtual race was won by 25-year-old Sage Karam, a self-described iRacing expert.

There are two sets of drivers — ones that are married and have kids and have never done iRacing before and the younger set who have been glued to it for years.

"There are guys who are really putting stress on their relationship by dedicating hours in a simulator," Daly said. "There's a funny iRacing Instagram group message and a lot of the married drivers are concerned about how many hours they've put on their simulators."

Daly might be a bit more carefree and might have the most fun of anyone.

"Yeah, I don't care at all how I do," Daly said. "And I think that's the best way to go about it because we don't win anything but we put on a show."

Once things get back to the real thing, Conor will pilot the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet in the road and street races plus the Indy 500 for Ed Carpenter Racing.

But for now?

"We gotta be smart. Gotta be safe," Daly said. "Do the right thing that folks with bigger brains than mine are telling us to do. Hopefully, that'll mean we can get back to the stuff that we love sooner rather than later."