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Ed Jones endures roller coaster Indy 500 qualifying

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Things looked promising for Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones ahead of qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Both he and teammate Sebastien Bourdais were quick during Fast Friday (Bourdais went quickest while Jones ended up a solid ninth) and the team looked to be strong candidates to compete for the pole.

And the day began on a high note for Jones, who was among the first to qualify, after he completed his run at an average speed of 229.717 mph, good enough to put him fourth in the rundown at the time.

However, the mood quickly changed to one of great concern following a terrible crash by Bourdais, who broke loose before correcting and spearing the Turn 2 wall at a 45-degree angle. Bourdais’ car then got airborne and started to flip before reversing course and landing right-side up.

Although Bourdais never lost consciousness and was seen moving in the cockpit and talking to the Holmatro Safety Team, the incident served after the most frightening moment of the week and shook everyone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “At the moment we’re just hoping the best for Seb after the crash,” Jones said in a press conference afterward.

In terms of qualifying, Jones’ day ended in disappointment. After ranking amongst the top nine speeds all day, he was bumped by JR Hildebrand, the second-to-last driver to make a run. Jones ended the day in tenth.

Though disappointed, Jones was clearly optimistic about his speed and the potential it shows. “It was good, solid. I really want to be in that top nine. After yesterday, I felt like we had a great chance at it. Maybe we didn’t get the car quite right today, it was quite loose for me so I had quite a few corrections,” Jones said of his qualifying run.

Jones added that going out early ultimately proved to be a disadvantage. “It’s frustrating to have to be the second to last car out. We waited for so long, staying up there. I think the conditions obviously changed at the end. I think the track got better. So it was frustrating,” he detailed.

Qualifying continues tomorrow at 2:45 p.m.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.