Lexington, Ohio (2 July 2023) – Conor Daly will race the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2023 Accord Hybrid following a practice incident that has sidelined Simon Pagenaud.
On Saturday, a manufacturer brake failure saw Pagenaud unable to slow for the high-speed Turn 4 during the morning practice session. Pagenaud took quick action to initiate a spin to reduce his speed, leaving the track sideways, but going airborne as the car was caught by the run-off gravel outside the corner. The No. 60 entry made a series of rolls at high speed before coming to a stop against the tire wall. Fast work from the AMR Safety team saw him extricated promptly and safely as he was transported to the on-site INDYCAR medical facility.
Pagenaud was evaluated and released by the NTT INDYCAR SERIES medical team, but required to be signed off per protocol to return to action. A follow up test did not provide the clearance for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner to race Mat Mid-Ohio on Sunday.
“First and foremost, I have to speak to the safety of these cars,” said MSR Team Owner, Mike Shank. “To walk away from an accident like that is incredible and we cannot thank everyone at INDYCAR, the AMR INDYCAR safety team and the INDYCAR medical team for everything they did to get Simon out and evaluated as quickly as possible.
“This is obviously not a scenario that we had planned for, but everyone at MSR has pitched in to get our backup car ready for Sunday,” continued Shank. “It’s actually Helio’s Indy 500 car and the one he won the 500 with in 2021. We have to thank Conor for being here and stepping into this, he’s been super great through all of the chaos. Now we will get back on our feet and see what we can do in the race.”
Daly steps into the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda with plenty of laps under his belt at Mid-Ohio. This will be his eighth NTT INDYCAR SERIES start at Mid-Ohio with his best finish of sixth in his Rookie season in 2016 which followed a run to the front of the field, leading 22 laps and moving up 16 positions.
“Obviously I have to think about Simon, you hate to see someone wreck like that,” said Daly. “The most important thing is to get him as healthy as possible, as soon as possible. This is his car and his group of folks and I am here to do the best job that I can for this team. I’ve known Mike (Shank) for a long time and I’ve tested for his sports car team many years ago. I’ve always had a lot of respect for this organization. It’s an honor to be a part of this group and fill in – we will just do the best job that we can.”
The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is set for 1:30pm ET on Sunday, July 2nd. MSR driver Helio Castroneves will start 19th while Daly will start 27th.