Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Conor Daly: Climbing the Ladder

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted October 8, 2008 at 8:36 pm Skip Barber

Conor Daly doesn’t want to be known as the son of a great race car driver, Conor Daly wants to be a great race car driver. The 16 year old, (dare I mention it?)son of former IndyCar and Formula One great Derek Daly, is taking the right steps to achieve his goal.

Under the guidance of his father, Conor tested and raced more cars this year than just about any other junior formula driver worldwide. Here are just a few of the cars and series that Conor used to gain additional seat-time in for 2008.

Apparently his vast amount of seat-time paid off in the long run. Conor and fellow Skip Barber National competitor, Josef Newgarden were selected for the Team USA scholarship. The duo will be racing in the Formula Ford Festival as well as the Walter Hayes Trophy this fall. As if winning the scholarship weren’t enough, Conor went on to win the 2008 Skip Barber National Championship (by a small margin over Newgarden) in the series finale at Virginia International Raceway last weekend.

Winning the 2008 Skip Barber National Championship is quite an accomplishment. The championship is widely known as a developmental series where some of the best kart racers and aspiring race car drivers make the transition to the world of racing cars. For a little insight into the world of Skip Barber racing or just a ride along at Road America; click here. The competition this year was steep as usual, with drivers competing for the 2008 title and the opportunity to reach the next rung of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder. Conor Daly finished inside the top two in both races over the weekend in the series finale, giving him access to the next rung: he received the big prize… $350,000, which is to be used for a Star Mazda program in 2009. The ladder system continues for the Star Mazda Champion, who will be placed in the Atlantic Championship. Daly is currently following in the footsteps of American driver Joel Miller who was a top kart racer in the direct drive ICA category, before winning the Skip Barber National Championship in 2007. This year Joel can be found competing for the 2008 Star Mazda championship, which concludes this weekend at Laguna Seca. Miller currently leads the overall points championship. Mazda has really stepped up, providing these young aspiring drivers with a way to progress and develop into seasoned race car drivers. It’s nice to see the ladder system working.

Congrats to the 2008 Skip Barber National Champion: Conor Daly, we look forward to seeing you in a Star Mazda car for 2009.

Skip Barber National Championship
Rounds 13 & 14 Full Results

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