Daytona 500: Conor Daly and his mother make an unusual ride to the peloton

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After another setback, Beth Boles had to take action. She could only handle so much watching her son Conor Daly attempt to complete the Daytona 500, and she reached breaking point Thursday night during the second duel qualifying race.

She decided to take a walk through the infield fan zone at Daytona International Speedway in the hopes that this would give her some peace of mind and help her forget everything that had happened in the last 24 hours. Up to that point, it was a botched effort by The Money Team Racing, a part-time team owned by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, trying to arbitrarily qualify for NASCAR’s biggest race.

There was the electrical short that burned a hole in Daly’s car’s oil line, preventing him from making a qualifying attempt during Wednesday night’s time trial. This meant he had no speed to fall back on should he stumble in Duel #2. Things didn’t get much better on Thursday. Even before his race started, Daly’s radio wasn’t working, causing the team to scramble to fix the problem. Then, as the #50 car rolled off the pit lane, Daly immediately informed the team that he had a bad vibration. It was so bouncy, he said, it felt like he was riding a “SuperCross track.”

For someone whose only chance of advancing to Sunday’s race was to beat two other drivers, Austin Hill and Travis Pastrana, Daly’s odds had grown bleak at best. He did everything he could but his efforts were severely hampered by a team that looked ill-prepared.

“It went so badly and I felt so sorry for him,” Boles said.

Sometimes luck is better than good. And that night, Daly, a full-time competitor in the IndyCar Series making a rare foray into NASCAR, received a gift from the racing gods in the form of not one, but two random warnings.

The first occurred when debris on lap 7 necessitated a warning. This gave TMT crew chief Tony Eury Jr the opportunity to bring Daly into the pits so he could make some adjustments to the car. But although the changes solved the jumpiness, Daly still lacked speed and fell a lap down during the subsequent 31-lap stretch of the green flag race.

At this point, Boles climbed out of TMT’s box for a walk. During her walk, she spoke to her brother and bemoaned the chain of events.

“All I could think of was that he probably wanted to park and hide in a closet,” Boles said. “I mean, it must be humiliating. And I know he did the best he could with the situation we had.”

Then came an even bigger break when second-placed Daniel Suárez touched the rear bumper of leader Kyle Busch, causing a multi-car crash. Among those gathered were Hill and Pastrana, whose cars sustained significant damage.

Suddenly, Daly’s once-dim hopes took a beating.

Pastrana garaged his car and finished his race. Meanwhile, Hill’s team attempted to make repairs to the pit lane only to find the damage was too extensive. And Daly was guaranteed a starting place at the Daytona 500.

“Honestly, we took advantage of luck, so it was very lucky,” Daly said. “But I will be lucky all the time because we kept getting better in the race.”

When the duel was over and Daly got out of his car in the pit lane, Boles made her way through a crowd to congratulate her son with a big hug. Nobody could believe what had happened.

“It felt so good to see him smile,” Boles said. “I know he wanted this so badly.”

Said Daly, “She’s always crying, and then I want to cry.”

Everything that could go wrong apparently did, but Daly still got there. He becomes only the 62nd driver in history to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500.

“Well, we’ve been inherently unlucky in the last 36 hours, but we’ve been lucky,” said Daly. “I wish I could have said I drove it in at pure pace, but it was just crazy.”

Now new challenges are waiting for son and mother.

Not confident he would qualify, Daly booked a flight to Los Angeles for Friday and had 170 unread messages on his phone. And Boles will need both a change of clothes and a place to stay this weekend. When she flew to Daytona Beach on Thursday, she brought only one outfit and only booked a hotel for one night because she believed Daly had a “half percent chance” of qualifying.

“I have no clothes and I have a room for one night. I have an 11:15 am flight,” Boles said. “…I don’t care, I wear the same outfit for four days.”

These are good issues, though, if not so long ago not qualifying for the Daytona 500 felt like a foregone conclusion.

“It’s worth it,” Daly said. “We do this for moments like this, when everything pays off, when things work out. Sometimes you’re lucky. It hasn’t happened to me often, but sometimes you have to be super thankful for those moments. And I am very grateful for that right now.”

Conor Daly

“We do this for moments like this, when everything pays off, when things work out,” Daly said. “Sometimes you’re lucky. … I’m very grateful right now.” (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

(Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Daytona 500: Conor Daly and his mother make an unusual ride to the peloton

Russell Falcon

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button