Conor Daly lost his ride with Ed Carpenter Racing in the middle of the 2023 IndyCar season. Who might be next before the season wraps up?
Ed Carpenter Racing recently announced that Conor Daly will not be continuing with the team behind the wheel of the No. 20 Chevrolet, a decision that came just seven races into the 17-race 2023 IndyCar season. Ryan Hunter-Reay is set to drive the BitNile-sponsored car for the remainder of the year.
Even going beyond the obvious fact that Daly hasn’t produced much statistically since joining the team in 2020, the move makes sense. Given the overall lack of testing that teams have these days, a team like Ed Carpenter Racing can’t necessarily afford to wait to make a driver lineup decision until after a season ends.
Who else could be on the losing end if other teams take the same approach? Here are three drivers who could get the mid-season axe.
IndyCar drivers who could be cut early: No. 1 – Devlin DeFrancesco
Devlin DeFrancesco is an obvious choice here for three reasons. First of all, his top finish since joining IndyCar last year is 12th place, and he has only finished in the top half of the field three times. That doesn’t cut it when you’re driving for a team of Andretti Autosport’s caliber. Every other driver in last year’s rookie class has at least three career top 10 finishes.
Secondly, there was a rumor going around that Andretti Autosport wanted him out for the Indy 500, with J.R. Hildebrand as the potential replacement if called upon. While that didn’t happen and hasn’t ever been confirmed, the idea suggests that the team have run dry on patience.
And finally, Andretti Autosport have made this move before, releasing Zach Veach before his contract was due to end at the end of the 2020 season. And Veach’s release was even more of a shocker, considering the fact that he is the one who brought major primary sponsor Gainbridge into IndyCar in 2018.