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Conor Daly overcomes tough week to make Indy field

May 19, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

Conor Daly AP

A grueling month of May for rookie driver Conor Daly got better on Sunday as he was able to make the field for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500, sticking his No. 41 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda on the inside of Row 11. Daly put up a four-lap average of 223.582 miles per hour in the opening stages of second-day qualifying this afternoon.

“We are IN the big show. The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. It wasn’t pretty how we got it done, but LETS GO RACING! Dream come true,” the Indiana youngster tweeted on Sunday evening.

Getting into the “500” had to be a moment of relief for Daly, who nearly flipped over during a frightening crash in practice last Thursday (the first of the month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and then was unable to complete a qualifying run on Pole Day because of a broken exhaust header on his car.

“I have to thank the crew for all they’ve done,” he said. “I think they had the car apart at least 15 times after the crash and the problems we had [Saturday]. We got the engine back about 8:30 last night, and they worked late getting it back in.”

Daly will have the biggest climb ahead of him on Race Day out of this year’s rookie class at Indy. Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz (second) and Team Penske’s A.J. Allmendinger (fifth) are up toward the front of the field for the start of the “500,” while Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Tristan Vautier (28th) will join Daly (31st) in beginning from the rear.

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