Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly in the No.18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality and Restaurant Group Honda drove a great race at the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at the Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday night. Daly started the race from 18th place and ended the 250 lap race in 16th place.
Speaking following the race Daly commented by saying:
That was really interesting! It was really nice to have a car to fight like we did. I thought the car was well balanced, I could race people and I had really good restarts. We just made some mistakes in the pits which is part of the game but I felt like I passed a lot of cars out there! Sadly, we had a few issues but it’s still the beginning of the season and things like this are bound to happen. I’m just really pleased with the car, I thought our pace was really good and I thought the way we raced was really good. We just have to get ourselves starting up a bit further up and eliminate small mistakes.
“It was more active than I thought it was going to be out there. Certainly crazy when you got off line. Some really interesting moments and some really hairy moments but I’m just glad we made it to the end and made it through unscathed. We gained a lot of experience today for sure.
Luca Filippi in the No.19 Boy Scouts of America Honda started the race from 16th place and ended the event in 20th and speaking following the race, the Italian commented by saying:
(About his spin) Everything was going well and I was with a group and the pace was quite consistent, the same as the guys around me. Helio (Castroneves) was a couple of laps down, faster than me, but when he made a move into Turn 1, it was a late move and in order to avoid contact I had to go on the marbles. I eventually saved it, but unfortunately the engine died and we lost a few laps, so the race was pretty much over at the time for us being that many laps down. That was very unfortunate because everything was going fine.
“After that, I was just trying to be smart on the restarts with the guys around that were racing each other. I was trying to gain experience and keep learning more about the car and racing on an oval but at the same time I was just staying away from trouble. It’s a bit of a shame because I couldn’t really race as hard as I wanted but at least it was a great experience. It was important for me to finish the race and experience the changes from the first lap to the last one. The car was good and I felt confident in driving the car. The guys did a solid job to give me a car I liked.