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Daly makes it to Indy, HANS device does not

Monday - 5/13/2013, 8:35pm  ET

Team director Larry Foyt, left, talks with drivers Takuma Sato, of Japan, center, and Conor Daly during practice for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Conor Daly spent the weekend racing in Spain.

By Monday morning he was back home in Indianapolis, racing around the 2.5-mile oval at speeds topping 210 mph. Everything has gone smoothly for the 21-year-old, who is trying to become the youngest driver on the 33-car starting grid.

So far, things have gone smoothly -- sort of.

Daly arrived on time in Indy, but his luggage didn't make it. Missing were a bag full of clothes and the HANS device to protect his head and neck were lost somewhere between Chicago and Indy.

Everything else looked good.

"It's been busy, that's for sure," Daly said. "But luckily my parents and my family have been really great and all last week, making sure everything was here. My helmets are already here and everything is good to go."

Daly completed all three phases of rookie orientation. His fastest lap was clocked at 219.044 mph.

"I think Conor has driven more cars in the last six months than any other driver in the world," said Josef Newgarden, who is trying to make his second Indy start. "That guy has been all over the place. So he's very experienced. I think he'll be just fine. He knows exactly what he's doing."

Spending time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May is nothing new for Daly. His stepfather, Doug Boles, is chief operating officer and vice president of communications for the track's parent company, Hulman & Co. His father, Derek, has worked extensively as a television racing analyst and actually made six starts at the Indianapolis 500.

Yet, Conor Daly is still trying to get comfortable driving around the track as one of four rookies hoping to qualify.

"It's slowly getting there," Daly said. "I don't think I've ever signed more autographs in my life than I have just this morning. It's been very, very cool and it's only the first day."


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