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.
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