Team Outlook 2016: Coyne settling on more consistent lineup

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Dale Coyne Racing

Drivers:

Conor Daly, No. 18 Honda

Luca Filippi, No. 19 Honda

Chief engineers: Michael Cannon (Daly), Kyle Brannan (Filippi)

Race strategists: Dale Coyne (Daly), Darren Crouser (Filippi)

Owner: Dale Coyne

2015 highlights: Driver consistency was the main issue for Dale Coyne Racing, with the team going through seven over the course of the season. Tristan Vautier logged the most time in a Coyne car, competing in 11 races with a best finish of fourth at Belle Isle-2. The only other Coyne driver to log a top-10 finish was Rodolfo Gonzalez, who placed ninth at Sonoma in the last of his six races with the outfit.

What’s new for 2016: The team set off on the path to consistency for 2016 when it named Conor Daly as the season-long driver of the No. 18 in December. Daly impressed Coyne when he strapped in Saturday morning of 2015 Long Beach race weekend and had an incident-free race. Luca Filippi – who has driven only road/street events in his part-time Verizon IndyCar Series to date, most recently with CFH Racing in 2015 – is “close” to securing the full-season slot in the No. 19, according to team owner Coyne. He added veteran Kyle Brannan to engineer the No. 19, with Michael Cannon returning to engineer the No. 18.

They said it: “I think we’ve got the best depth of driver lineup that we’ve had in a long time,” Coyne said. "They’re both kind of rookies in a way and I’m very much looking forward to the year. Kyle Brannan’s back with us, he was here several years ago and he’s an experienced guy. We’ve done a lot of work over the winter on different projects and we’re excited about it.”

“It’s always a process. There’s so much information to be gained that I don’t know yet,” Daly said. We’re learning more every session that I’m out there so it’s nice to be able to have three (test) days in the car before we get to St. Pete. We’re just taking it step by step. It’s not going to be easy at all. This is probably one of the deepest fields in a long time so we know it’s going to be competitive. I just can’t wait to get going, knock out the sessions in St. Pete, get to the race and see what happens. It’s still weird to think that I’m here for the year. I have to keep thinking that this is my home, this is where I’m at permanently, and it’s really nice. It’s been a weight off my shoulders, it’s been nice to talk to my engineer every week. We’re just building on things. We’re the underdog team, for sure. It’ll be cool to get out there and surprise some people.”

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