INDIANAPOLIS — The willingness to try an event as competitive as the Chili Bowl drew props from four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon, whose racing career started on the dirt. Gordon knew how limited the dirt-track experience was for Daly, Ferrucci and Davison.
Daly had competed in one other Chili Bowl; Ferrucci and Davison had never raced on dirt.
“While I don’t recommend this approach to anyone, I have a lot of respect for those that attempt it,” Gordon tweeted. “(The Chili Bowl) is no joke!”
Daly was the highest-finishing NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver in Saturday’s finals, finishing ninth in his H Main feature. Ferrucci finished seventh in his K Main feature; Davison was ninth in his M Main.
The weeklong event won by NASCAR Cup driver Kyle Larson started with 360 drivers from 40 states and six countries.
“I’ve watched many races and I can see what you need to do, but to actually do it yourself is the challenging part,” Davison said of dirt-track racing against such a loaded field. “It’s a lot harder to do than it looks like from the outside.
“There’s no substitute for experience, right? Experience brings confidence to start going faster and slide (the car) more. I’m not quite there yet.”
Ferrucci said the experience could lead him to seek a ride in the Driven2SaveLives BC39 powered by NOS Energy Drink, the dirt midget race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 1-2.
“(This) was a cool experience and if I had done some testing it could have been really good,” he said.
The father of one-time Chili Bowl champion Bryan Clauson said the NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers acquitted themselves well.
“Besides the racing they have all been great ambassadors of @INDYCAR (and) @IMS engaging with fans and teams,” Tim Clauson tweeted. “It’s this stuff that brings us all as racers together.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will stage its first open test of the year February 11-12 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. The first of 17 races is the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 13-15).