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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.

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Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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