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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9 hrs ago

MotoGP

Two motorsport icons 💪
One epic ride swap! 🔁

Valentino Rossi VR46 Official and Lewis Hamilton, coming soon! 🔥

#lh44vr46
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Two motorsport icons 💪
One epic ride swap! 🔁

Valentino Rossi VR46 Official and Lewis Hamilton, coming soon! 🔥 

#LH44VR46

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boyzzz, do me the favour and switch seats (at least just for one day) - I´m sure it would be "fantastico" for all of us ! ❤️❤️😍😍

One , Lewis Hamilton is a lucky champion and not so a Nice Guy. Very bad that he is in one picture with one of the best drivers ever in moto GP

This photo is gold, I’d love it in a frame on my wall, my two favorites people in racing, Vale and Lewis 💙💚

Why is everyone hating on these two they have bigger balls than you going that kind of speed round each corner the only difference between them is the number of wheels both of them are amazing racers both can drive a car and ride a bike plus don’t forget Rossi’s only protection is leathers helmet gloves and boots plus an air bag Lewis Hamilton’s protection is helmet neck brace a fire suit and a halo stop your hating and enjoy a picture of a g.o.a.t and legend

The press release afterwards remember to say you had no rear grip with the Yamaha and I'll say the Mercedes needs to give you more power 😭😂😂😂😂

Rossi is better athlete . It's much more difficult to drive on 2 wheels . He is number 1 motosport icon at the moment

Rossi can be compared only with M. Schumacher! 2 great champions 💕

Wandering what he’s whispering ha Lewis you May be an ace driver and a mega star with all the money in the world but you still have no fucking style 😂

I'd love to see Lewis try and get within 2 seconds of Rossi on a bike, he wouldn't even get close.

Not Vale’s first run in a F1 car, drove the Ferrari about 13yrs ago under Michael Schumacher’s guidance.

Lewis Hamilton, never heard of her 🤔🤔

It is great to see MotoGP and F1 icons together 💪🏻🙏🏻

The one on the left has more than earned his fame the one on the right has his mommy and daddy pay for it 🏁🏍👍😎

I see one icon and a 'whinging when something doesnt go his way P**ck' to his left!!!!

Vale is the most down to Earth person you will ever meet and does so much for the sport and also Charity. When we talk F1 lets let’s not forget Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.

Always loved Val but respect Lewis , l think the respect for each other is mutual but for me Val will always be number one.

Never mind im a rossi fan but my guess is he will do better in an F1 car than lewis could do on a moto go bike! Btw im also a lewis fan!....just saying my opinion!

Who's the guy close to Lewis Hamilton?

Why they did not do it with "Merguez"? :)))) bet Marquez will try to beat this record as well. :)))

Big boy's just want to have fun they not hurting anyone enjoy your life while you can you never no what's round the corner 💕

I can only see one motorsport icon the other cries down his radio when he can’t over take or he has tyre wobble guess which one 😀😀

I'm not seeing Rossi next to the Mercedes Benz logo??

Turn on the stopwatch, and look at the difference between lap times... 😜😎

Cosí porterà le scuse, e la tifoseria nella fórmula uno, speriamo lo faccia prima che inizi la.nuova stagione della motogp... Sono 10 anni che piange

Can't wait to see Lewis struggle to make 3 minute laps around Silverstone while Rossi pulls qualifying times in an F1. Tim Braunstein

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9 hrs ago

F1

The airwaves have been filled with smooth operator, *LOUD NOISES* and of course... Lando Norris 🤣

Here's our top 20 team radio moments from 2019 📻
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Lando's "Like, forever?" was also great.

I really enjoyed the 2019 Formula 1 season! The drivers, and teams, have been very entertaining all year! I love them!!! I can't wait for the 2020 season! I'll have to be satisfied with watching the new Netflix series on F1 when it comes on, and rewatching last years.❤️🧡💛💚💙

Missed the 'James, it's Valterri' bit! It was one of the bests 🤣

This was an unforgettable season. And a big pleasure that McLaren is back in game with this two great guys. Can't wait for march. I hope next season the Teams are closer together

Literally got goosebumps watching Pierre after that P2 finish! I won’t get into the “Smooth Operator” renditions we sing when Carlos does well, but they’re probably about as good as his. 😂

Charles "Yes" or Gasly's "WOOOO"? Either way, RIP ear drums.

Mclaren is killing it. With Sainz's and Lando's performance and the car it self. The best of the middle teams. I don't care about the front anymore, its always the same. I just wanna watch and listen to these guys. They are hilarious.

Lando and carlos 😂 they've provided some well needed entertainment this season ! 🧡

McLaren radio are awesome ! I love this guys ! Crazy !

the mclaren boys bringing home that good quality radio entertainment that we all love. 😂 😂 😂

How can you not love the McLaren drivers and team? Seriously that’s brilliant. Pretty sure the positive atmosphere is linked to the amazing results of this year. Keep pushing guys!

Last season: I feel for McLaren, must be rough. This season: God McLaren are my favourite team!

I absolutely love the McLaren ones, but my No.1 is Bottas. 😂 I guess I got an idea who he addressed it to...

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Hearing Pierre’s P2 scream still makes me happy like it did when I first heard it.

Top 20 isn't enough but still a very high quality content you got here F1! I'm proud to say that I saw it all live or live-ish *Carlos bits are recaps only*!

F1 has been brilliant this year with some amazing races, it's only fault? F1 constantly saying it's not been good 😂🤣

I love Stroll getting mad about unsafe entry and then doing the same thing 🙃

wtf it is with these ads?! OMG every 10 seconds, totally unwatchable stuff. I must be a super hardcore audience or this video went just flat out american on me 😀 🇺🇸

Norris and Sainz are absolute legends on the coms...they could’ve skipped the parts Leclerc talking to himself though 🤷🏼‍♂️

Thanks F1 that was brill !! I pay Sky a lot money to watch F1 shame they couldnt provide something as entertaining as that.............. gues all their money goes on feeding crofty!!

After a collision I really want to hear Kimi say "back in my day"....

The ones with the rain funny, oh so funny. I agree with the number one they picked. Some good team radio this year.

We all know for a fact that Kimi is the king when it comes to this but for Carlos and Lando (and they're teammates aswell) lol. Pretty hilarious

I get goosebumps everytime I hear Gasly's radio when he won P2 😀

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14 hrs ago

MotoGP

#RumbleStrip 2019 Rich Lee Draws!3">#MotoGP season recap! 🏁

🎨 Rich Lee Draws!
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Que lindo meus super heróis das pistas caracterizados. Tudo de mais bonito para todos. Deus abençoe e proteja sempre sempre todas e todos envolvidos com um esporte que é pura superação e EMOÇÃO 💜. Amo vocês ✌🌹✌.

Story of the year, Rins, Miller, Quartoraro and Vinales all coming good throughout the season. Getting stronger for 2020. Bring it on, stick it to the #93!

Time to get back in to the action #RumbleStrip

Motogp race good rider Marc, very nice👌🌹...

Story of year was Marc totally dominating. A excellent rookie year from FQ . Some good races from Mav, Dovi, Rins etc but all lacking consistency. Some brilliant races along the way but ultimately MM93 was far too good.

Best MotoGP race rider #MM93 ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Spirit for Rider MotoGp go to #MotoGp2020😘

Rossi is de best rider even still he 40+ age no one can take his place rossi luv u bro ....

💗💗💗💗💗

Why did they make Cal look like a mini wolverine! 😆

Good job marc Brilliant race along the way but ultimately marc was far too good😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

Ont peut la trouver la BD en français s'il vous plaît

Great art. Good job

The best comic ever....!!! Keep it up

Boring rider and boring titles and only marquez fans happy for the boring show from marquez

Excelente.... sin duda MM93 ha sido su mejor año.. y ninguno mas mantubo consistencia... se ve una buena pelea para el 2020 con buenas carreras..

👍👍👍 the best season...👏👏

Oh, This is very nice

Good job Marc King of race

Marc ❤️ my heart ....

Až budou dobří jako Valentino tak ať se ozvou teploušové. 😎

Champions forever

Can’t wait for MotoGp 2020 🍿Rins and the Marques brothers 🥇

Very, very cool!

Marc marquez 93...nice one

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