Dale Coyne Racing

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With third-place showing, Ed Jones is highest-finishing Indy 500 rookie

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Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Ed Jones had been overshadowed much of the Month of May by Fernando Alonso, a fellow rookie at the 101st Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. With Alonso garnering much of the media attention, Jones was somewhat of a forgotten man.

However, he had been impressive in the opening rounds of the 2017 season, scoring consecutive top tens to begin the year, and he was quick during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before eventually qualifying 11th.

He was then vaulted into the role of team leader on the driving front after Sebastien Bourdais’ accident and subsequent injury, but Jones remained overshadowed in the rookie battle by the aforementioned Alonso.

And, while Alonso led laps and ran amongst the leaders for most of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, it was Jones who emerged as the best-finishing rookie at race’s end, with strategy and timely cautions putting him in position to do so even before Alonso fell out with an engine failure.

However, the race took a turn for the chaotic for the Dale Coyne Racing driver on lap 52 following Scott Dixon’s horrifying crash, one which saw Jones hit debris and suffer damage. “It damaged the floor and also the rear wing. We had to change the rear wing. That sent me to the back of the field. We had to claw our way back up again,” he said of the incident.

He also revealed that the car had wing damage in the final stint, which created several issues for the 22-year-old driver. “I actually damaged my front wing, had a big hole in it. My legs got pretty cold, to be honest. I had wind blowing into them like crazy. (It) also created a lot of drag,” he explained.

Dating back to his days in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Jones now has five podium finishes on ovals. But, victory continues to allude him, a fact that disappointed him in spite of an otherwise strong performance. “I’ve had five podiums or five top 3’s on ovals now and I haven’t won one. It’s really frustrating not to get one. I’m working my hardest to get it the next time,” he asserted.

However, Jones earned the praise of his peers, most notably from Helio Castroneves, who was sure to compliment him during the post-race press conference. “I have to say he did a very good job. When we ran side-by-side, he was very smart,” Castroneves said of Jones’ performance.

Jones’ third place is his best career IndyCar finish to date and his first career podium in the series. His prior best was a sixth-place finish in April’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

 

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Bourdais upbeat about recovery from Indy 500 qualifying injuries

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Sebastien Bourdais returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, just over one week following a savage crash in qualifying that saw him suffer multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip.

In a press conference with members of the media, Bourdais expressed confidence about his recovery. “I’m doing good enough to be here. So that’s great!” he quipped. “It’s great to be out of the hospital environment. I’ve never really faced that before. It’s great to feel normal right now and to be able to walk around and see some familiar faces and see a lot of friends.”

Bourdais explained that his rehab process is still in its early stages, and that a lot of it is down to pain management. But, he does hope to be racing again before the season ends.

“It’s just going to be a long process. I can’t put any weight on my right leg for another five weeks. So it’s just going to be a game of patience and trying to make sure I’m ready when it matters. I’m shooting for the end of the season in Sonoma,” he explained.

Returning to the race track, particularly for Sunday’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, was also a critical aspect of rehabilitation, especially when it comes to overcoming mental and emotional hurdles. “For me, it’s just important to make sure that I stay in good spirits. Physically I’m doing well, and I have no intention to let this incident stop my career or anything,” he asserted.

The crash itself was one of the most frightening anyone has seen in quite some time, as he impacted the wall at a 45 degree angle while still traveling at well over 200 mph. And while safety is a constantly moving target, Bourdais was very complimentary of the current Dallara DW12 chassis, which prevented the injuries from being much more serious.

“The car did a really good job head-on,” he explained. “I don’t have any injuries on my feet or anything like that. But if we could avoid pelvis and hip fractures like that, that would be great. But I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say they have survived a head-on crash at 227. I don’t know that everybody knows, but I was still full throttle when I hit the wall. It’s a pretty good testament.”

In terms of the team’s future, owner Dale Coyne detailed that he has been in contact with several drivers about next week’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader, but no decision has been made. “We’ve probably had 25 drivers contact (us) for Detroit and on. Some usual names, and ones you may be surprised at. We’ll make that decision Monday or Tuesday,” Coyne said of the team’s future.

Bourdais, meanwhile, is anxious to get back as soon as he can, as he believes Dale Coyne Racing is building something special. “We’re building something at Dale Coyne Racing thanks to Dale and Gail and all the engineers and everybody who is hard at work, the mechanics and all. I think we have a great launching pad for the future, and I want to be part of that. That’s why I want to come back as soon as possible.”

 

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Overlooked by Alonso: Could Coyne’s Ed Jones steal Indy 500?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Fernando Alonso has hogged the headlines as the top rookie – albeit in name only – for this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

But the Verizon IndyCar Series’ lone full-season rookie, Ed Jones, has been the revelation of the month of May and a potential spoiler in the works in today’s race.

The first driver from the United Arab Emirates to compete in the Indy 500 will roll off from 11th place in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This is the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion’s first big oval race and the adjustment period to this full month has been something Jones has coped with well.

“It’s such a long month. It’s very tiring. And you try to rest as much as you can to be honest,” Jones told NBC Sports. “On those days off you rest, because it’s been so much driving – a week straight, and you have to be as efficient as you can on track. You have a lot of distractions.

“But it’s great the event is so big. There’s a lot I learned from Seb, which has been a massive help.”

Seb, of course, is Sebastien Bourdais – injured a little over a week ago but already having since been released from hospital and back at IMS today to have met his crew and met the media.

Jones’ steely resolve and determination shone through as he got back in the car after Bourdais’ crash with no visible signs of being affected by it.

“I think it was a massive crash. But he was so lucky. He’s in a lot of pain, but it could have been a lot worse,” Jones said.

“We all know it’s a part of racing. When you’re pushing the limits here, the margin for error is so small. Accidents are very costly. You hate to see it. But it’s part of racing. I felt confident going out, and going quick again.”

Jones was a hard luck second in the 2016 Freedom 100 to Dean Stoneman by just 0.0024 of a second. Racing in the ‘500 is something that he relishes for the challenge of it and for what he has had to learn and comprehend.

“It’s a lot more intense now. It’s very tough! There’s lot more attention on what you do,” he said.

“But it’s about getting through. I’m really looking forward to the race. There’s so many things to think about. It’s even things like coming into pits off Turn 4, you’re getting tired, that gets tricky.”

Team owner Coyne has hailed Jones’ performance all year, and particularly at Indianapolis this month.

“Ed’s had a very good month. He’s done a tremendous job,” Coyne told NBC Sports.

“To come in here and qualify 11th as a rookie, the job he’s done all year. He’s been a very pleasant surprise. We knew he was a good racer, but we did not know he was a good qualifier! He’s turned out to be both, and he raced harder than in Indy Lights. He’s doing a very good job.”

Jones is one of three traditional rookies who got their training in the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires. He starts 11th while Jack Harvey starts 27th and Zach Veach starts 32nd.

Oh, and about that “other” rookie who rolls off fifth? Jones, like the Honey Badger, doesn’t give a you-know-what about Alonso. He just wants to beat him, same as another competitor on track. After all, Alexander Rossi won as a rookie from 11th on the grid last year.

“It can be annoying. But at the end of the day, I can’t do anything about that.

“If I beat the other rookies – and that includes him – people will notice me more.”

Bourdais, Coyne upbeat during Carb Day practice check-ins (VIDEO)

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INDIANAPOLIS – Sebastien Bourdais hopes to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, just over a week after his accident left him with multiple pelvic fractures and a fractured right hip in an accident in qualifying.

The Frenchman has already been released from IU Methodist Hospital on Wednesday and during NBCSN’s coverage of Carb Day practice, checked in with the booth crew to update his recovery progress.

“I think I’m doing as well as I could have ever hoped for,” Bourdais told NBCSN’s Kevin Lee. “My surgery went well. I was walking two days after the wreck. It’s been a little weird! But the pain is managed.”

Team owner Dale Coyne also checked in on Bourdais’ progress as well.

“He’s feeling good. He moved out of hospital Wednesday,” Coyne told NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt. “If all goes as planned, we’ll get him out here Sunday.”

As for when Bourdais can return to the cockpit?

“The surgeon said he’s out for season… of course Seb says he wants to do Le Mans!” Coyne laughed. “It’s going to be a long recovery. But Sonoma? Maybe.”

Also during the segment, NBCSN pit reporter Jon Beekhuis noted an older specification rear wing configuration on the back of Bourdais’ replacement, James Davison’s No. 18 GEICO Honda. This should help Davison on Sunday.

Sebastien Bourdais released from IU Methodist hospital; begins rehab

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INDIANAPOLIS – Sebastien Bourdais only posted on Tuesday that he was “unable to go for a run” – his spirit and humor clearly not affected despite sustaining multiple pelvic fractures and a fractured right hip in his crash during qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in the No. 18 GEICO Honda on Saturday.

On Thursday, his post revealed even better news: he’s been released from IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and will be set to fly home soon to Florida for his rehabilitation.

Bourdais’ place in the race at Dale Coyne Racing will be taken by James Davison, but judging by this first round of leaving, the Frenchman is keen to begin the recovery process as quick as humanly possible.

Bourdais later updated his hopes to return as soon as possible in a release out Thursday from INDYCAR, which you can see in full, below.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Sebastien Bourdais, injured in a crash May 20 during a qualifying attempt for the 101st Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, was discharged from IU Health Methodist Hospital on Wednesday and has been moved to a local rehabilitation facility.

Bourdais sustained multiple pelvic fractures and a fractured right hip when his No. 18 GEICO Honda crashed into the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 on the third lap of his qualifications attempt Saturday. The Dale Coyne Racing driver underwent successful surgery that evening at IU Health Methodist Hospital.

“Sebastien is progressing amazingly fast for having pelvis and hip fractures, and considering the severity of the crash,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Scheid, an INDYCAR medical consultant. “He is walking with crutches, in good spirits and feeling good.

“We expect the fractures to heal in around eight weeks and he should be able to start putting weight on the right leg then. Until that time, he can work on rehabilitating his upper body, core strength and range of motion in the hip.”

Bourdais, the 38-year-old four-time Indy car champion, expressed his gratitude to everyone involved in his care from the time of the incident.

“I’m obviously really happy to be up on my feet and feeling pretty good about being able to walk on crutches,” Bourdais said. “I’m really thankful to all the people at IU Health Methodist and the Holmatro Safety Team, everybody at INDYCAR and my team, Dale Coyne Racing, for helping me achieve that so early after the crash.

“It’s going to be a bit of a long road ahead,” he added. “I still have six weeks before I can put weight on my right leg and put my foot on the ground, but after that it should be pretty smooth sailing. I’m really looking forward to the day I can get back in the car, and hopefully that will be before the end of the season. I look forward to seeing you guys at the track.”

Updates on Bourdais’ condition will be released when available.