Photo: Dale Coyne Racing

Ed Jones officially confirmed at Coyne for 2017

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Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion Ed Jones has been formally confirmed at Dale Coyne Racing for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, which means Coyne has come good on the promise he’d have both his seats filled by November.

The 21-year-old Dubai-based Brit has spent the last two years in Indy Lights with Carlin, learning and winning three races in his opening year before parlaying a slightly more consistent sophomore season with only two wins into the series title this year.

Jones will have the engineering resources of Michael Cannon on his car, with Coyne as his strategist, while new teammate Sebastien Bourdais has Craig Hampson and Olivier Boisson.

Jones has been confirmed in the No. 18 Honda, which will mean Bourdais will be in Coyne’s relative “flagship” No. 19.

For Jones, who had a three-race deal guaranteed regardless thanks to the Mazda advancement scholarship, this ensures he’ll now have a full season to learn the ropes.

“I’m hugely excited about stepping up to the Verizon IndyCar Series next year with Dale Coyne Racing,” Jones said. “To reach an agreement as early as we have done is great news as it gives me plenty of time to settle into the team and get to know everybody properly so we can prepare as well as possible for the season ahead.

“IndyCar has been my goal ever since I left Europe to come and race in America, and it’s crazy to think I’ll be joining the grid just two years after moving stateside. Together with my management team and sponsors, I’ve worked so hard for this opportunity and I fully intend to grab it by the scruff of the neck and make the most of it.”

“Although we spoke to a few teams, Dale Coyne Racing always stood out as the best option and Dale worked hard to make the deal happen.”

Coyne offered his thoughts on Jones after looking through a number of potential drivers for the seat.

“Ed had a couple of remarkable seasons in Indy Lights and we’re very excited to have him join our team for his rookie IndyCar campaign,” shared Team Owner Dale Coyne. “I attended the season finale at Laguna Seca and Ed demonstrated a lot of poise, maturity and determination while under pressure, knowing that the championship was on the line. Those are all qualities that will serve him well in IndyCar. I was very impressed with what I saw.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with young drivers and see them evolve as the season goes by. We’re excited to be able to get things going this early in the off-season with both of our drivers, and as I said when we confirmed Sebastien (Bourdais), we’re very much looking forward to the 2017 season.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).