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…”

facebook feed

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

15 minutes ago

F1

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

Comment on Facebook

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

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

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

No damage is just horrible, full of punts and wallriding

ill never complain about GT sport's online again

Fun race full of excitement

Okay now this is getting ridiculous lol

What is this? Play Mario cart...this is not even sim anymore

You be like at first have a nice day

horrible

EsteRAM GotToCrashEm

Nacho Troglia

Sam Flack

Fernando cuack

Picchia duro la Mercedes

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

View more comments

3 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

Comment on Facebook

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.

Another Ferrari driver who can't handle being passed

More exiting than real F1.. says enough!

Glad they made titanium front wings and sidepods.

Good old Karting move 👍

Never seen such racing in Monaco.

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

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

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

😮👏🏻 Good luck

I think they should have had damage on

Super unrealistic...

The fact these guys race with no damage is sad.

Turn on the damage

Gutierrez is the Pagenaud of F1

Do people look at this crap really only stockcar racing

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

Kieron Carey

View more comments

3 hrs ago

F1

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

Comment on Facebook

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😂

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!

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

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.

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

😐 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.

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.

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

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

it was the worst virtual gp please turn on damage

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.

It’s just a battering course. Pathetic. If that was a normal online game you’d be fuming

N'importe quoi et croire que les gens regardent ça . Je suis très fan et je regarde autant de grand prix que possible mais a regarder des gamins joué Dsl

Black flag for Gutierrez, no wait, he has the car of Hamilton! It's all OK 😂

Mercedes involved in someone else crashing and no penalty where have we seen that before

View more comments

7 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! 🇸🇲
... See Less

Comment on Facebook

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

View more comments

7 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

7 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 ⁉️
... See Less

Comment on Facebook

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

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. 😉

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

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

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!!!!😱😱😱😱😱

Give it a rest.......... 💤💤💤💤

Legend. Forza

I love the guy

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

RETIRE already!!!!!!!!

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

Gracias por ser quien eres

View more comments

Load more