Derek Daly Talk About Changing Gears in His Life

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You could say that Derek Daly is in the process of scripting his fourth chapter his life.

Long gone is the first act of Daly’s life when he grew up in a middle income family in Dublin, Ireland. His second act has also been in the rearview mirror for a while. Daly’s 17-year career as a professional race car driver in the European Formula Championships, CART and Le Mans crossed the finish line in 1990.

Actually Daly continues to work on the third sequence of his life story. His 24 years of broadcasting race events and stories on channels such as ESPN, Speed, NBC and CBS continue. This May, he again joins WISH-TV to serve as an expert analyst for the Indy 500.

But now the 62-year-old former drive has slipped his life into another gear. All cylinders are popping after he has churned out a hot selling book and reaches dozens of national corporations with his energy-driven, passion-pumping motivational speeches that are being delivered to thousands of professionals and leaders throughout the country and abroad.

“So many people are stuck in life or business, and they get afraid to move,” said Daly following a speaking engagement at a conference in Dallas in April. “If they are not careful, they can wither away. I try to give them a little boost.”

That boost or push comes from Daly’s connections as a veteran racer in Europe and the U.S. and his ongoing love affair with competitive racing – any kind of competitive racing. His speaking topics include:

• Complete Champion Culture of EXTRAordinary: Driving to the Limits of Possibility – Daly explores the path from good to great and great to extraordinary. He discusses how people can be pushed to the edges and boundaries of what may be possible.

• Complete Champion Leadership: How Fast Can You Get Fast? – Daly evaluates the road to success and understanding the difference between going fast and being fast. The speech includes utilizing creativity and innovation to achieve trailblazing performances.

• Complete Champion Teams: How to ACCsellerate Your Team – Daly talks about the need for both buyers and sellers to pursue their best and edge more toward personal margins and boundaries. Daly urges individuals to work as teammates in their work settings.

• Complete Champion FutureSCAPE: Driving to the Dream Job Offer – Daly takes his audience on a tour of what successful teams can expect from their most valued employees in the next 10 years, and he drives his audience on where an individual’s mindset can take the person.

And not to be forgotten in this success-churning adventure is the title of Daly’s book, “Race to Win.” Both in writing and speaking behind the podium, Daly recalls his skills from racing. For example, “Race to Win” reviews the seven essential skills it takes to be a complete champion, either on the track or at the office.

“I use my sports background to try and provide a nugget of information and inspiration for the audience,” said Daly, who uses two national firms to book his speaking engagements and employs his website,, to raise interest for future clients. “People are interested in hearing my platform of including motorsports to their success.”

Daly attended his first race as a 12-year-old in Ireland. He worked as a laborer in iron ore mines while traveling the racing circuits and once lived in a school bus to cover expenses. After winning championship events in Ireland, England and other stops in Europe, Daly snared a lifetime dream by driving in the 1978 Formula One World Championship. Within two years, he was ranked 10th in the world.

For most Hoosiers, they became more aware of Daly when he began racing in the Indy 500 in 1983. His six years of driving IndyCars was seriously threatened in 1984 when Daly hammered the wall at the Michigan International Speedway traveling over 214 miles per hour. After 14 surgeries and three years of therapy, Daly returned to full-time racing and twice won the 12 Hours of Sebring.

“I really believe you have to live the moment,” said Daly, who squeezes in time to following the racing exploits of his son, Conor. “You never know what is around the corner.”

After racing, announcing was behind the curtain for the personable Irishmen who admitted he can occasionally bring up his Irish blarney during telecasts and speaking engagements. One magazine hailed Daly as the “most popular motor sports television announcer” during his 10-year run with ESPN. He also received the 2000 Hall of Fame award from Motor Sports Ireland for his leadership in Irish motor sports.

But now comes the next chapter: public speaking to corporate America.

“Derek’s book teaches lessons that it took me years to learn,” Mario Andretti wrote in the forward. “Quite honestly, the advice in this book resonates far beyond the racing industry.”

Numerous company leaders agree when booking Daly to speak at their conferences and meetings. Among those who have called upon Daly are Motorola, Valvoline, Roche, Rolex, Pepsi, State Farm, Xerox and Michigan State University.

“So far, we have been received really well,” Daly said.

Sounds as if Daly could be headed to Victory Circle for this chapter.