Daly to enter Daytona 500 with Floyd Mayweather's team
By JENNA FRYER
(AP) -- IndyCar driver Conor Daly will attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 with the NASCAR team owned by Floyd Mayweather.
The Money Team Racing raced its way into the Daytona 500 last year with driver Kaz Grala; Daly made his Cup Series debut for the team in October on The Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"The Money Team Racing shocked the world by making the Daytona 500 last year and I believe in this team and know we will prepare a great car for this year's race," Mayweather said Tuesday. "Like a fighter who's always ready to face the best, Conor has the courage to buckle into this beast without any practice and put that car into the field.
"Conor is like a hungry fighter and my kind of guy. I sure wouldn't bet against him."
Daly will be among six drivers vying for four open spots in the 40-car field. Among those also trying to qualify for an open spot in the Feb. 19 season opener is seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and action sports star Travis Pastrana, a close friend of Daly's.
The announcement to enter Daly in the Daytona 500 came just eight days before Daytona International Speedway opens for race preparations. Daly said last week he was not hesitant to accept a late offer and TMT said it will enter Daly in at least six other Cup races this season.
The effort will be funded by Bitnile.com, which is Daly and Ed Carpenter Racing's sponsor in IndyCar.
Bitnile executive chairman Todd Ault III said it would also sponsor Daly at Circuit of the Americas in Austin in March for the "Texas Two-Step," in which Daly will run the IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway the next week.
Ault also said there would be a "Daly Double" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August, when Daly runs both the IndyCar and Cup races on the same weekend on the road course.
"Our next generation marketplace launches just 10 days after the Daytona 500 ... to help promote our marketplace, we asked Conor to run a number of NASCAR events this year in addition to our sponsorship of his full-time job in IndyCar," Ault said.
The remaining Cup races Daly enters will be dependent on his schedule.
"I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to attempt to run in the Daytona 500," he said. "It is the most prestigious race in NASCAR and to have the chance to compete in it is truly an honor. I am also excited to be running the entire IndyCar Series season and select NASCAR Cup events.
"I am looking forward to the challenge and can't wait to get behind the wheel of whatever BITNILE.COM race car, boat, dune buggy or vehicle they ask me to drive."
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Updated February 8, 2023