Conor Daly is predicting that drivers will be more aggressive this weekend than they usually are at St. Petersburg, largely on account of the race being moved from its traditional place as the season opener.
Usually drivers have been out of their cars for an extended period of time and are also conscious of not starting the year with a poor result that could have implications for the rest of the season.
But now a lot of driver’s points positions are all but finalized, and Daly predicts they will allow themselves to push harder and take chances in an effort to get a good result to round out the season.
“I think it will be a lot more aggressive on the first lap because we’ve all got recent race experience in the car,” said Daly ahead of the weekend’s action.
“The funny thing about this event being the first street course, it’s the first track of the season where we don’t have runoff or room to push each other off the track.
“There’s been a lot of that going on lately.
“It’s a fun racetrack, and a great racetrack, but you have to be so smart because you can be in the wall very quickly.”
The recent double-header in Indianapolis saw its fair share of off-track running, as drivers pushed each other too hard into the corners.
But the presence of copious amounts of concrete barriers lining this weekend’s street course means drivers who are pushed wide are likely to not be able to continue.
Daly is hoping he can use the barriers to his advantage and earn himself his first top-ten finish on a road course this season.
The 28-year-old has been driving for two different teams throughout the year, and has struggled to get good results on the road courses when he’s been driving for Ed Carpenter Racing.
“We have to tie a whole weekend together,” said an ever optimistic Daly. “We’ve been truly unlucky in a lot of different scenarios with ECR.
“We’ve qualified well, had good races going, then something random will happen. So we just have to put everything together and finish strong.
“And I think we can. There’s no reason we can’t.
“I like this track, and we’ve been working hard on the simulator and everything to be as good as we can be.
Daly will get his first taste of the temporary circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida tomorrow at 10:55 AM EDT, follow by qualifying at 3:05 PM.