When Conor Daly wheels his No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August, it’s going to look fast enough to break the speed of sound.
The car livery will honor General Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 aircraft that broke the sound barrier Oct. 14, 1947. That was also the first year for the United States Air Force, which sponsors Daly’s Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020.
Daly’s car was unveiled to the public Friday, May 15. The car will feature this paint scheme for practice, qualifications and Race Day at the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in August.
The car is fully orange, like the Bell X-1 aircraft that Yeager piloted to become the first man to break the speed of sound.
Yeager is an American hero, who has had books written about him, including Thomas Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff.” It was made into a classic motion picture in 1983.
Yeager is also a big INDYCAR fan and drove the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car in 1986 and 1988. Daly hopes Yeager, 97, can make it to this year’s race to see his famed aircraft honored by a race car in the Indianapolis 500.
“We are super proud to be paying respects to that effort,” Daly said. “It’s an incredible group of people to represent. It’s something I’m very proud of. This year will be the most races that we have had with a U.S. Air Force car. That is really cool. I want to get them to victory lane. We want to celebrate together, and that is the goal.
“It’s definitely the coolest car on the grid.”
To add to the realism of the Bell X-1 livery is the new Aeroscreen that is part of every Dallara chassis in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES this season. The Aeroscreen gives the cars a look that resembles a canopy on a jet aircraft.
“It is an iconic livery,” Daly said. “The Air Force is super proud of what they have done with the car liveries before in our short INDYCAR career. We had the ‘Thunderbird’ livery. We’ve had the ‘Shark Teeth’ and now the representation of Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1.
“I know there are some more planes and more special liveries of what we can do in the future. We want to make sure this program as successful as possible so that we can keep designing some pretty cool race cars.”
Daly will drive the street and road course races plus the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 for Ed Carpenter Racing. Owner/driver Ed Carpenter drives the No. 20 Chevrolet on the ovals. Rinus VeeKay of The Netherlands will drive the No. 21.
In addition to his duties at ECR, Daly will compete in the other oval races on the schedule for Carlin Racing in the No. 59 Chevrolet. Max Chilton drives that entry on the street and road course events, plus the 104th Indy 500.
Daly is driving for the “Hometown Hero” at the Speedway, three-time Indy 500 pole winner Carpenter. Daly hopes to learn some of his boss’s speed secrets at Indy this year.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since we signed this deal,” Daly said. “Sadly, we have to wait even longer before we get there to experience that, but our time will come. I would like to come back to this team next year. If we can make that happen, that means there is a shorter wait between August and May.
“Hopefully, we keep doing our job, everyone does the right thing, stays safe, and we can get all of these races in this year. I can’t wait to get to August. It’s going to be awesome.”