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A.J. Foyt Racing Signs Munoz And Daly For 2017

By Joe Jennings

A.J. Foyt Racing has signed youthful chargers Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly to drive ABC Supply Dallaras for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. Munoz will race the iconic No. 14 entry while Daly will be behind the wheel of the newly numbered 4 car. In an unusual twist to team operations, the Munoz operation will be run in Foyt’s Texas shop while Daly’s team will be based in Foyt’s Speedway, Ind., shop.

Another interesting twist is that the team was non-committal on power-plants, indicating an announcement will be forthcoming in a few days. One certainty though is that ABC Supply, which has been a sponsor with the team since 2005, renewed its contract for two more years.

“It’s been a busy off-season, which to me is a great thing,” said team president Larry Foyt. “It’s wonderful to continue our sponsorship with ABC Supply and adding two young and fast drivers is exciting for our program.”

Said Munoz during a conference call this week, “Next year is going to be my fourth year full-time, you know. It’s going to be actually my first change. I have been with Andretti for the last five years, so it’s a big step of my career I think forward. Going to be totally different approach from my part, you know, driving with this team.

“I’m glad to join this team, as it’s been in IndyCar for a long time, and also A.J. is Indy 500 champion. I really honored to be a part of his team. I think it’s a new challenge to my career.

It’s also nice to be teammates with Conor Daly. It’s good to have two young, really fast drivers in the team. We’re going to work really well together.”

As to carrying the legendary No. 14 on his car, Munoz stated, “I feel honored to be driving the 14 number because I know for him that number is really important. He loves that number. I’ve never been a driver that’s attached to a number. I want to be the best no matter what number. I think it gives me even more motivation.

Daly was taken back with being assigned No. 4. “I actually didn’t know we’d be the No. 4 until probably like just a few days ago. That was even cooler just because of the history that we have there with my stepdad (IMS president) Doug (Boles), when he was running with Panther Racing, involved there. I grew up watching those guys, Scott Goodyear, Sam Hornish, Tomas Scheckter, as well, then Dan Wheldon.

“It was just a cool number that meant a lot to my family. It was cool to carry on. I have plenty of Pennzoil hats with No. 4 on them from when I was a kid. It’s just a great relationship, a great opportunity, and then I just can’t wait to get started.”

Daly, who ran his first race for the Foyt team in 2013, is thrilled to be reconnecting with the team. “It’s just a great team, so much history,” he commented. “I’ve been friends with those guys ever since 2013, so to come back now and be actually competing for them full-time is super cool. I’m excited just to get back to work. It’s my sophomore season. I know there’s so much that I learned last year that I just want to apply in this upcoming season.

“I think with Carlos, as well, the guy is incredible at Indy. I want to learn from him at Indy and all the other tracks. He’s coming from another team, so there’s always going to be more information to learn. Hopefully, we can put it all together and make it work really well.”

Munoz and Daly are both 24 years old, and they believe they are part of the youth movement in IndyCar.

“They (AJ Foyt Racing) want a project for a long time of period. That’s why they hire two young drivers,” noted Munoz. “I also think IndyCar needs a new generation. I think the new generation is coming. Like Tony, Helio that are getting, you know, close to retirement, even though they’re still really competitive.”

While in Houston with the Foyts, Munoz knew other drivers were being considered for the No. 4 car. “Larry (Foyt) asked me which one of those I have on my list I would like to be on the team. I say, Conor, he’s a really young driver, he’s American, really talented, really good his first season, and I think we going to push each other a lot. I have a good experience. He’s really fast, as well. I think we can work really well together, and I think we can push each other a lot.”

IndyCar rides are hard to come by and Munoz and Daly understand what they have committed to do, so they will be spending the winter months preparing for the challenges that will be coming their way in the year ahead.

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