LAS VEGAS — Irish driving legend Derek Daly is the epitome of a complete champion. From the victory circle to the announcer’s desk to the Motorsport Ireland Hall of Fame to network television color analyst, Daly has spent nearly three decades as the face of the motorsport world. He counts Sylvester Stallone, David Letterman, and Jay Leno amongst his friends.
Daly will now bring his expertise to the inaugural Service World Expo, Oct. 26-27 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas.
Born and raised in Dublin to a middle-class working family, Daly’s career path was set at the age of 12 when he attended his first auto race. From that moment, his commitment to the dream of being a professional driver was unshakeable. On the way to his dream, he worked as a laborer in the iron ore mines of Australia and, while travelling the race tracks of England, even took up residence on a school bus.
Daly’s professional racing career spanned 17 years, and his experiences are nothing short of breathtaking. Daly’s story is one that precious few have lived to tell. In 1984, he suffered one of the hardest crash impacts that a driver had ever survived when he hit the wall at Michigan International Speedway at 212 miles per hour (mph). After 14 surgeries and three years in therapy, he returned to full-time racing. He competed in the 12 Hours of Sebring, one of the premier motorsport endurance races in the U.S., and won the race two years in a row.
His early dreams became reality when he won Irish, British, and European championship events. In 1978, he competed in the Formula One World Championship, and, two short years later, Daly was ranked 10th in the world. In 1983, he made his first of six starts in the Indianapolis 500.
In 1985, Daly started a 10-year association with ESPN as a motorsport color analyst. He became the face of motor sports, as seen on NBC, CBS, FOX, and Speed Channel. USA Today highlighted Daly as “the best new face on sports television” and IndyCar Racing magazine voted him “the most popular motor sports television announcer.”
Moet & Chandon champagne awarded Daly the Joules Goux Award for his outstanding contributions to motor sports television, and he was later nominated by ESPN for an Ace Award. Daly received the 2000 Hall of Fame Award from “Motor Sport Ireland” for his leadership of Irish motor sport.
His book, “Race to Win: How to Become a Complete Champion,” was heralded a future classic by the Irish Times.
Friend, former race competitor, and international auto racing superstar Mario Andretti contributed the foreword, writing: “Derek’s book teaches lessons it took guys like me years to learn. Quite honestly, I believe the advice in this book resonates far beyond the racing industry.”
Daly has taught the timeless principles of his most valuable asset: speed. Companies such as Xerox, Bayer, Deloitte, Growmark, Department of Defense, Federal Reserve Bank, Pepsi Co., State Farm, Zurich Insurance, and Gallo Wines have depended on his Complete Champion Model to motivate, inspire, and enlighten their teams.
Daly and his three sons reside outside of Indianapolis. He became an American citizen Sept. 28, 1993, but retains his heavy Irish accent. For more information on Service World Expo, visit www.serviceworldexpo.com.
Publication date: 4/4/2016