IndyCar: Jones on the pace and upbeat despite qualifying error for Indy500

IndyCar: Jones on the pace and upbeat despite qualifying error for Indy500

Ed Jones is confident he has ‘a good race car’ underneath him as he prepares to tackle the biggest event on his 2018 calendar this weekend, after safely qualifying for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ – the legendary Indianapolis 500 (27 May).

The talented young Dubai, UAE-born ace is currently five races into his sophomore season in the fiercely-disputed Verizon IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing, sitting 14th in the standings amongst the 28 high-calibre contenders, with a brace of top ten finishes to his credit including a breakthrough maiden podium around the Streets of Long Beach last month.

Whilst that marked Jones’ first visit to the IndyCar rostrum, it was not his first top three result – that came this time last year on his Indy 500 debut, as he grabbed headlines with a mature, composed and phenomenally impressive performance that belied his comparative lack of experience at the pinnacle of US open-wheel competition.

Fast forward 12 months, and the 2016 Indy Lights Champion and 2017 IndyCar ‘Rookie of the Year’ is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where last week, he completed four days of official practice including ‘Fast Friday’, when boost levels on the cars’ turbocharged engines are turned up in advance of qualifying, equating to an increase of almost 50bhp around the iconic 2.5-mile oval.

The track time was split between getting comfortable in the car, adapting to driving with a full fuel load, qualifying simulations and running in a pack to get accustomed to how the new IndyCar reacts in traffic with its distinctly different aerodynamic package compared to its predecessor.

“We spent a lot of time focusing on the balance of the car – that was the main thing,” revealed Jones, who put a total of 263 laps on the board and reached a top average speed of 228.646mph. “There are so many variables to try to make it fast, and we went through a lot of tweaks – every day, we learnt something new and we improved the No.10 NTT Data car each time. The crew did a fantastic job working on the car and going back and forth to the garage with all the changes we made.”

Qualifying was a two-stage affair, and with 35 cars vying for only 33 available berths, ‘bumping’ made a re-appearance at Indy for the first time since 2011. That ratcheted the pressure up a notch in what was already a high-stakes scenario, with each driver afforded just four nail-biting laps – and rain delays disrupting strategies to add to the challenge.

The first day was dedicated to securing a spot on the grid, which Jones did comfortably by placing 13th on the timesheets, just five positions behind four-time title-winning team-mate Scott Dixon, the most successful competitor in the current IndyCar field and the 2017 Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter.

“The guys did a great job with the NTT Data car,” acknowledged the 23-year-old Brit, who is being coached by multiple IndyCar Champion and Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti. “We struggled a bit on Friday trying to find qualifying pace, and ran about 50 laps alone on qualifying set-ups. It’s great to be with this Ganassi team, because they constantly work at it and push to find speed. I think we got a little unlucky with the sun coming out during our run. That definitely hurt our pace a bit, but considering our difficulties on Fast Friday, I had to be happy with 13th.”

Hopes were high of maintaining if not indeed improving upon that form on Sunday, when all drivers having provisionally qualified between tenth and 33rd made a further four-lap attempt to determine the final starting slots for the 200-lap race.

Unfortunately, a small error on his third lap restricted Jones to a frustrated 29th on the grid behind the wheel of his 720bhp Dallara-Honda single-seater – but he remains upbeat about his prospects of moving forward in the 102nd edition of what is the largest single-day sporting event in the world.

“I went into Turn One and just lost the front of the car,” explained the former European F3 Open Champion. “I was heading for the wall on the exit so had to lift, which destroyed my momentum. That lap really hurt my average and it was very disappointing to have that happen, especially after having a solid car on Saturday.

“I felt so bad letting the team down, but we have a good race car that drafts up very well to the other cars – maybe even better than the one I had last year – and we’re determined to work our way to the front.”

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3 hrs ago

F1

Highlights from an action-packed brawl on the streets of Monte Carlo 💪 ... See Less

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The thing about Gutiérrez is to consult with his psychologist, that the damages are not activated does not mean that you drive without respect, you cannot put the car where it does not fit, fantastic boot race, it was not the best circuit to debut in a virtual race and if He is not caught in the accident, he would have been in the top 3, I hope he dared to participate again, Lecler very clean.

No damage is bullshit. Grow up.

Gutierrez should play E roulette tonight. He hit everything else in Monaco, odds are he will hit his number or color as well

Turning damage off was a big mistake. Just became intentional wall riding for most. It somewhat disconnects risk and reward.

Can’t run this with damage on, just takes away the spectacle and not very interesting to watch when crashing into each other like this

That It!!! All the F1 Pilots (when they're driving For Real) still think they're in virtual cars which can bounce off of everything without damage!

So many people complaining, don't watch if it's so repulsive to you.

Some shocking driving there. And people wonder why very few take it seriously. Crank damage up to 100% and let's see them

Gutierrez is an absolute jerk and shouldn't be allowed to participate! He should go to a fair in Mexico and drive bumper cars...

Hey F1. You should have a night race at Monte Carlo and just add lights. I think it would be pretty cool.

I feels like watching mini4WD series using barrier to turn lol Fun to watch, in not F1-serious like

Esteban Gutierrez driving was just shameful. I realize it's a video game... but even for a video game his driving was stupid.

No damage is just horrible, full of punts and wallriding

Oh this virtual thing is just lost. Loss of value in material, society and spirit. But who would compare?..

Action? Come on guys, activate damages, they are real drivers!

“He wants to play bumper car or something” - everyone to Gutierrez - 2020

F1 needs a no damage mode 😂

If they had damage on, only Russell would have finished the race 😀

Turn damage on for Christ sake will prevent a lot of the stupid driving and dive bombs

Must put damage on... it is a carnage going on there!

Thats a joke Man... IRL that race over in the 1st lap.

Gutiérrez torpedoed everyone Pastor will be proud of him

Esteban Gutierez just enjoying the map like Mario Kart 😂

Damage was needed to make it feel a bit more realistic

Call this whatever you want... but not a race

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5 hrs ago

F1

A mini-epic 🍿Alex Albon and Arthur Leclerc fight for P4 in the closing laps of Sunday's Virtual Monaco Grand Prix 👏 ... See Less

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Gutierrez ruined the race outcome. I expect that kinda bumper cars from nascar. I’d why I quit that series. Altho it sounds like it pleased some folks. Well, there’s always the real thing, and bikes. flat track, moto, and. Enduro’s. Something for everybody. Hope the next one is cleaner.

I would loooooove to get relevant F1 news without fantasy races and fluff. Is there a F1 page just for that? I realize everyone is struggling to stay relevant but fantasy racing is not what I signed up for.

Another Ferrari driver who can't handle being passed

Turn on damages. What a mess it look like kids driving today ...

More exiting than real F1.. says enough!

It looks fake and it is...multiple collisions, no damage, no nothing. It’s just not interesting.

Enough of this. Bring back the real deal

Glad they made titanium front wings and sidepods.

Super unrealistic...

Do people look at this crap really only stockcar racing

Good old Karting move 👍

The fact these guys race with no damage is sad.

Never seen such racing in Monaco.

turn damage on so we can really have fun watching drivers survive monaco.

Is that Blackpool GP coz they drive like they were on the Dodgems?!

He went through where Max couldn't get past Hamilton last season

😮👏🏻 Good luck

I think they should have had damage on

Turn on the damage

Gutierrez is the Pagenaud of F1

100% Prost v Senna

In real life that's a 10 sec penalty God I love these virtual races

Súper real los golpes que se dan y siguen como si nada...👏🏼👏🏼

Isso pq vcs não viram o que fizeram em romrom17 .com hilariante!

Si los duelos en monaco fuera asi en vida real, no me quiero imaginar las demas carreras jaja

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6 hrs ago

F1

Charles Leclerc was a bit GUTted! 😮 ... See Less

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Not watched this rubbish. They need to do a kind of battle royale style event where everyone has damage on, except kyviat and the last person to be torpedoed wins.

Bad luck for Charles on that point. Two years ago breaks failure and now this😂

Why are some people so angry on this thread because wheels didn't fly off a virtual car? Lockdown really hitting hard 😂

No damage... It's just a laugh that you need the settings for 5 year olds...

Honestly what Esteban today did was dirty... unacceptable, was watching Marcel Kiefer's stream and he was raging and swearing!

Just get to real racing already. This virtual racing wore out a month ago. NASCAR has started and IndyCar starts June 6th.

These clips only remind me how barren my life is without F1 lol. I can't find any enthusiasm for these Mario Kart races.

😐 c'mon now...turn on damage and get all the F1 drivers involved. Have your "celebrity" races elsewhere. ½points for virtual races and add them to whatever is earned when the actual season resumes.

Can we get a full contact death match mode with weapons please? Please!

Someone appears to have driven through Leclercs car, ghostlike, as if made of ectoplasm...

You have overdone it with the "virtual" grand Prixs.I am a gamer and a FORMULA 1 fan myself but just the marketing exaggeration and promotion of all these tends to become boring, at least for those who spend a lot of time with pure Formula 1 things.Even the the E-league was better organized...

If they're going to play a game with ridiculous physics and no damage, why don't they just play Call of Duty. That's about as close to real war as this F1 game is to car racing.

Alright, it's funny if everyone agrees to go full Mario Kart mode. Not if a couple decides to torpedoe everyone while the rest is actually trying ro race. Either implement some set of rules or just switch to Mario Kart for this series. It was funny, now it's just ridiculous.

What no damage. That the whole point of f1

Leclerc and Monaco is just not a good combination.

What a load of sh*te this is honest. May as well watch them all playing mario cart. Utterly pointless.

Here for all the ItS nOt ReAlIsTiC comments. No kidding, it's a video game.

The handling on the Codemasters games will always be rubbish, far from realistic, useless.

Get a grip ya whining bastards! Yes, there's a bit of overzealous driving...so what! It's a bit of fun and at least a little entertainment for us while there's no real F1.

it was the worst virtual gp please turn on damage

did the Alfa just phase through Leclerc's car??

Les mecs ils jouent sans les dégâts...trop la honte serieux quand nous on jouent en réel

also Esteban seems to be like five years child who chrashing into everything

They really need to mount guns and oil slicks and mix things up. 😜

Wow he even crash in virtual race.

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9 hrs ago

MotoGP

An emotional day for all involved as Tatsuki Suzuki handed SIC 58 Squadra CORSE victory at the circuit named after the late Marco Simoncelli ❤️

Relive the highlights from the #SanMarinoGP! 🇸🇲
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What an emotional race. Amazing.

Refunds???????

Dominik Leder

en ik ook

Fatima Benard segundo 35 cuando voy conduciendo y me envías un mensaje

Ricardo Blokzijl Nathalie Blokzijl, dat weekendje gaat jammer genoeg dit jaar niet door

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10 hrs ago

24H Series

Yesterday during the 12H MONZA, Munckhof Racing powered by No Fear Energy Drink and Ciceley Motorsport side by side during the race! 🏎️💥

#thisisendurance #24hseries #24hseries2020 #motorsport #12hmonza #racing #iracing #esports
... See Less

Yesterday during the 12H MONZA, Munckhof Racing powered by No Fear Energy Drink and Ciceley Motorsport side by side during the race! 🏎️💥

#thisisendurance #24HSERIES #24HSERIES2020 #motorsport #12HMONZA #racing #iracing #esports

10 hrs ago

MotoGP

How does Valentino Rossi VR46 Official describe himself? 🤔
Does he like pineapple on a pizza? 🍍🍕
What's his favourite #MotoMonster Energy Yamaha MotoGPhis and more about the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider in our Quick Fire questions ⁉️
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Optimistic in 2018 to enjoying my soft pizza from bridgestone with mayonaise in the beach at sunset with coffee and gain cardio of my dogs just to funny 😆😆✌️

Gotta love that guy! 🤣 what if your cat finds out about that dog mishap?? 🙈 Also: pineapple on pizza is THE BEST! I’m sorry but it’s true 😝

Looking forward to racing again . You look really good , relaxed & happy. You will always be No 1 . ❤ One kiss x

Ahhhh - I got all of these right (except the mayonnaise on pizza but that’s definitely more acceptable than pineapple 🤢). Always makes me smile 😊 x

Vale you are really Amazing!!!! Good luck!!! We Love ❤💛 YOU!!!!

Always smiling our Vale !! and of course optimistic. I love him 🥰. I hope to see you soon on the track. 😉

Valentino looks like he needs that beard filling makeup pen that’s all the target on FB

My Boy, and no pineapple, I'm allergic. XX

Like the longer hair, not the beard... You can shave, you don't need the barber for that....

Only you were allowed to switch the tyres from Michelin to Bridgestone.. What a shame!

Maybe they should do this for all the riders????

FFS!! Enough of the fan-boy shite MotoGP!! 🤬 Let's see something about other riders. You have 82 others to choose from!

Mayonnaise on a pizza? In Italy? It must be an Uccio thing, there's no other explanation... 🤣🤣🤣

Pizza with mayonnaise??????

Hahahaha "forbidden." #pineappledoesnotbelongonpizza

T-shirt salesman

rossi: mayo pizza cooks: WHAT A GENIUS he must be 200+ iq

I love this guy...

Hello mester Rossi we miss you, Go go go

Ah Vale!.. la pizza con la maionese proprio non si può sentire!!!!😱😱😱😱😱

Go put some beard

Legend. Forza

Che cazzo dici Vale? Mayonnaise su pizza? Perche no Vegemite?!? 🤣🤣🤙🤙

RETIRE already!!!!!!!!

Jamais de sous titre sur vos vidéos sa commence à être lourd

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