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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8 hrs ago

MotoGP

Throwing it back to the #Moto2 race of the #BritishGP 2012 🇬🇧

Enjoy the last laps battle for the 2nd place between Marquez and Redding! ⚔️

#MotoGP
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Great performance by Pol & Scott at the end💪🏼..that was a cracker💥..

I was there.....Brilliant racing!!

Very drunk day but remember the race. Loved watching Scott race. All packed and ready for Silverstone Thursday morning.

Fantastic battle 👍

I was there, great finish. Home crowd went wild when Redding got back in front, then deadly silent when Marquez had a look up inside on last bend, then wild again when Redding cut back across. Amazing stuff!

Awesome pictures!

Amazing

however Mac Marquez with his current performance does not have to be Marquez's best

Very nice

Very nice

All these guys are big talents. Many riders like Pol Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista, Bradley Smith, Antony West & many more are great riders and capable of winning championships ( capable ). People underestimate these guys by their bad results, but really..top material is key in these classes, especially in the MotoGp class. Give them a solid ride and they'll blow your mind

Redding never got the ride he deserved.

2019, #93 is the winner..😋🏁

special suter chassis for marc and mysterious team 😉 after marc step up to motogp, this team directly disappear, nobody know where are they now.

Just shows how good Redding was but never really got the bike to really take it to them in Motogp.

Man, I miss Scott Redding in the padock "let's get it babi"

Muy buena carrera no apta para cardíacos 🤭🤭🤭

Forget just how good Redding could have been with a decent bike

Nice

Nice to see maq battle for other place than 1st

Kaj mu je pa SCOTT REDDING naredil,šale in kape.😀

Bring back Redding

duel one on one in the final lap marquez lose .....

Amirul Zahrif Rosli nk top fan jgk ka? xyah la kait dgn aku. huhu

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10 hrs ago

MotoGP

The dramatic moment which cost Marc Márquez a shot at victory at Silverstone two years ago! 😱

The world champion's misfortune opened the door for Andrea Dovizioso to snatch the win! 💨

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Encore! Encore! Do it again!

Good Day all.

Unlikely to be repeated! Hope Dovi brings his A game though. 👍🏼👍🏼

Gave the rest a chance

So what's new?? Sometimes these kind of technical failures happens in Motorsport... Very rare that engine blow sky high to premier class bike.

Fast forward >>>> he is the world champion!!

Saya Mie Halim moh top fan sama sama

I love coming here and waiting for all the Yellow gob smokers.

I thought "the legend" was gonna win that day.. 😅

Was at this race, and that bike blowing up was almost as good as a Rossi win 😀

RAre footage for sure

Ah, I could watch that Honda blow up all day every day...

Alex Groenewold finger cross 😅👍.. voor komend weekend

#MM93 Come Back STRONGER! 💪💪💪😎👍👍👍

Wow

Wow

And finaly , the boss MM93 won the title one more time

Nothing can stop him not even a broken bike ! Simply the king of MotoGP !

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13 hrs ago

F1

Cue the celebrations, Bob! 🍾👏 ... See Less

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( •_•) ( >💎 oh! Preciosa insignia! /︶\

Must be an awesome feeling..I certainly Would love to work with f1 even if it was to clean a window.

Nice. Long time lots of great words over the years

Awesome to get behind the scenes!

I love the voice of that guy

Cheers to the great Bob!!!

Amazing. I remember this voice. Thanks.

More than 660 wow ! I mean that’s amazingly nice, being with the next generation sharing your experience & catching something new from them it’s a nice way. Good going Bob keep it up & don’t forget to change the baton when you still can... 👍

It’s nice to now be able to put a name/face to the voice. Keep up the good work Bob. 🎤 🔈

Bobs Brilliant we love Bob in our house 👍🏻

Love these little insights into the F1 community 👍

Amazing with the “carmen opera” music

Awesome to put the face to the voice.

Hey I’m a top fan again, but it is really cool to put a face to the voice. I never really thought about it till I saw this

Big respect for Bob cheers 🍾🍾

I now have proof of what he does when he goes away. He is my legend

I should celebrate with champagne too after being promoted to top fan for god knows what reason 😂

Finally we get to see the man! 🙌🏻

I always wondered who did the podium announcements and if it was done locally or in England. 👍

Thanks for the Top Fan position!

Never seen the man behind the legendary announcements !

Wait, what if he is the meow guy! 😆

Always wondered who did the podium announcements and now we can put a face to the voice

660 races and counting .....give Bob some champaaaaaaaagne!! 🍾🍾

The unsung hero of F1 😁😂🍾

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