Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality and Restaurant Group Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly in the No.18 Honda ended Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as the highest placed Verizon IndyCar Series rookie coming home in 13th place just behind Carlos Munoz and just ahead of fellow rookie Max Chilton.
Speaking following the race, Daly commented by saying:
We made the right calls today, we did what we could do. I felt like I passed a lot of cars. I got by Hunter-Reay, Munoz and a couple other guys. It really felt like I was making progress but everyone just kind of sorted themselves out. I’m really surprised it went green all the way. That was my first full green IndyCar race so that was tough. When I lost a spot to Kimball, the rear came all the way around in Turn 8 and I was just drifting towards the wall thinking here it goes but I saved it. We have to come out of it with the fact that we’re the highest finishing rookie and, overall I think we did a great job.
Luca Filippi in the No.19 Boy Scouts of America Honda started the race from 12th place but suffered damage to his front win on the opening lap following contact with Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz.
The Italian went on to finish the race in 17th place and speaking afterwards he commented by saying:
I had a good start, side by side with Munoz. He gave me enough space and we went around Turn 1 and everything was fine until then. Eventually something happened in front of him and he had to avoid somebody and he turned suddenly to the left and hit my wing. From there my front wing was broken and we chose to wait before changing it because I was able to continue and we didn’t want to lose too much time in the pits with an extra stop. It was difficult though because we lost about 10% of our aero balance and downforce so I was limited by the cars aerodynamics. It’s a shame because after a while, nothing was happening in terms of yellow flags so we decided to change the wing for the last stint and we had the fifth fastest lap of the race and we had a strong pace at the end. It could have been a different race. It’s a bit of a shame, normally with this kind of racing you can have a problem and with other things happening in the race you are able to recover and come back and still have a chance but it wasn’t like that today. Next time will be better.