IndyCar: Jones signs off IndyCar season with top ten finish at Sonoma

IndyCar: Jones signs off IndyCar season with top ten finish at Sonoma

Ed Jones took the fight to some of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ biggest names in the 2018 finale at Sonoma Raceway last weekend (14-16 September), speeding to an eighth top ten finish of his sophomore season at the pinnacle of US open-wheel competition to cap a campaign that he describes as encouraging and frustrating in equal measure.

From the moment his No.10 NTT DATA car rolled off the truck and onto the track at Sonoma, the talented young Dubai, UAE-born ace was in the mix. He duly lapped inside the top seven amongst the 25 high-calibre contenders in both of Friday’s practice sessions – not far adrift of Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon, a previous pole-sitter and three-time winner around the 2.385-mile California road course, and the third-most successful driver in IndyCar history.

Qualifying, unfortunately, did not reward that potential, as a strategic gamble left Jones a disappointed and unrepresentative 14th on the starting grid for Sunday’s fiercely-disputed Grand Prix of Sonoma – a double points-paying contest to conclude the campaign.

Undeterred, an impressively assertive opening lap saw the 2016 Indy Lights Champion and 2017 IndyCar ‘Rookie of the Year’ immediately gain three spots to 11th, and courtesy of a strong and consistent turn-of-speed, Jones was up to eighth by the time the first round of pit-stops had shaken out – sandwiched in-between former title-winners Sébastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden.

After pulling off eye-catching overtaking moves on Graham Rahal and Newgarden – the latter the qualifying lap record-holder at the track – Jones rose as high as second behind the wheel of his 720bhp Dallara-Honda single-seater before making his final pit-stop with 20 laps remaining, following which he continued to push hard to take the chequered flag in tenth position. That secured the 23-year-old Brit 13th spot in the overall standings – an improvement on 2017.

As he reflects upon the race and the season as a whole, Jones can look back at a year of highs and lows, podiums and punctures – but above all, plenty learned and tremendous promise for the future.

“I really wanted to end 2018 on a high,” acknowledged the 2013 European F3 Open Champion, who is being coached by multiple IndyCar Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti. “P6 in first practice was an encouraging way to begin, but qualifying was super frustrating. We had a car that was quick enough to progress – potentially even as far as the Firestone Fast Six – but instead of being up at the sharp end of the grid, we wound up well outside the top ten at a circuit where passing is notoriously tricky.

“The race itself went reasonably well. I got a good start and was able to make a few satisfying overtakes, and whilst we perhaps struggled a bit more with tyre degradation than some of our rivals, I feel we got the maximum out of the situation and it was good to sign off the season with another top ten.

“It’s been a difficult year on the whole. We’ve had some very good runs but we’ve also been extremely unlucky, with several things that didn’t go our way and six races where we haemorrhaged points due to reasons ranging from punctures to mechanical issues and a couple of crashes – one of them while I was running second close to the end. Without that, I’m fairly confident we would have finished inside the top eight in the drivers’ table, and when you consider that six of the top seven overall are former champions, that would have been a pretty decent outcome.

“On the positive side, I’ve learned so much from working alongside both Scott and Dario and the opportunity to draw upon their wealth of combined experience – and I’m a stronger driver for that. At the end of the day, Scott is the benchmark in IndyCar racing – as he has proven again this year – so to have out-qualified him five times in the same car and beaten him in a straight fight in Detroit was extremely rewarding, because not many people get the better of him.

“It takes time to adapt when you move to a new team, but I’m more comfortable at Ganassi now than I’ve ever been and really feel at home, and all-told, I’m happy with my performance – when I’ve had a trouble-free weekend, I think I’ve shown what I can do.

“Congratulations to Scott on winning the championship for a fifth time – that’s some achievement and thoroughly well-deserved after all the hard work that has gone into it. Thanks, finally, to NTT DATA for all the support this year. I’m very fortunate to have such a great brand and group of people behind-the-scenes that make it all feel like a family – not to mention, of course, the best-looking car in the field…”

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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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Luthi is moto2 governor.. 🤣🤣🤣

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

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

Very nice

Very nice

Very cool video MotoGP. More like this one please!!!

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.

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

2019, #93 is the winner..😋🏁

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

now whrs redding? gone?

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 .....

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11 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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Good Day all.

Encore! Encore! Do it again!

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.

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! 💪💪💪😎👍👍👍

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

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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“As you can see, I’m a bit high mileage” - 😂 - Bob’s funny! What a lucky guy - I’d give my right arm to work for F1❗️

( •_•) ( >💎 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!! 🍾🍾

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