Conor Daly has been called in to drive the #60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda for three races recently, filling in for Simon Pagenaud as he continues to recover from his wild crash in Mid-Ohio.

Daly had been released from Ed Carpenter Racing just a couple weeks before he was tasked with filling the unexpected need at MSR and giving the entry meaningful results to help it maintain a position inside the all-important Leader’s Circle list.

The opportunity has allowed Daly to expand on the long-term relationship that he has with MSR co-owner Mike Shank, with the two often sporting similar personalities.

The recent races have also let Daly see how the organization works from the inside, and have given both sides chance to feel out how well they work together during a race weekend.

The 31-year-old talked with about how he’s gotten along with Shank for many years, and is enjoying having a chance to drive for him in recent weeks.

“I like Mike, yeah,” said Daly. “Mike’s been a great guy, honestly, for a very long time I’ve wanted to drive for him. I’ve tried to beat his door down every now and then.

“He tested me a long time ago in an LMP2 car that he had. Very, very low key. Secret. He didn’t want anyone to know about it. It was me and one other driver. It’s cool to get to work with him officially.

“And [MSR co-owner] Jim Meyer, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone that just loves motorsport, being a part of this team, and supporting the series that we all love. What an awesome group. It’s been cool to be a part of.

“They’ve also been super great to me just to give me the information I need. If we’re going racing, they want to make sure I’m as prepared as possible, and I really appreciate that.”

Conor Daly, Helio Castroneves, and MSR co-owner Jim Meyer talking before qualifying at Iowa Speedway. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

Daly has earned a reputation as the driver that floats between all the different IndyCar teams instead of having a locked in contract with any specific group.

MSR is the eighth different team he has driven for since first racing in the series in 2013, and only a few of those years have featured full season deals.

Daly thought his two-year deal with ECR would give him more consistency in his career, but when that contract was ended early back in June, he was back to being the series’ unofficial ‘ringer.’

“Never done [being IndyCar’s ringer]. Kinda crazy. I’ve done it before, sadly. I’ve done it before many times. I have another suit to add to my collection, and a couple other team shirts.

“This group [MSR] for sure has been different than anything else I’ve done before as a substitute. I subbed for Harding Racing and Carlin, and those were new, smaller groups.

“I would almost compare this when I got in the #5 car way back in 2015 for Hinch. They were winning races, and that was an organization where we got in at Detroit and we’re like ‘We’re leading this race!’ It was really cool to jump into something like that.

“It gives you the same feeling with this group. They have incredible amount of resources and an incredible engineering team. It just feels nice. It’s a nice environment for sure.”

With MSR being one of the many teams that have an uncertain driver outlook for 2024, a growing relationship between Daly and Shank could potentially lead to the two partnering more in the future.

Daly elaborated that the two have not talked that far ahead, however, and he’s been focusing on giving the team what it needs race by race as its number one driver continues to recover.

Daly has not yet discussed driving the #60 next season. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

“That’s way too far down,” said Daly about 2024. “I don’t even know. I don’t know what they’re doing. With Mike, we’ve pretty much just talked like ‘Hey, we gotta do all this stuff.’ Other than that I have no idea.”

Asked if he will still have the backing of BitNile wherever he lands, Daly seemed optimistic that he’d still have support from the company that allowed him to land a more consistent driving contract at the beginning of 2022.

“I hope [they’ll be with me], we’ll see. I talk to those guys every week. I still have a deal with them. They’re still on my helmet, they were on my [NASCAR] truck suit, they were on the rallycross car.

“I’m very much intertwined with them because of how we all came to this sport together. So yeah, we’ll see what happens.”

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