By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
After a year absence in the NTT IndyCar Series, Ed Jones will be back on the grid. Only this time, he’ll pilot the No. 18 SealMaster Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan on a full-time basis.
The deal was confirmed Wednesday morning as 2021 will mark Jones’ first full year since being let go from Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 despite scoring a pair of third-place finishes at Long Beach and the second Belle Isle race.
SealMaster will also return for the fourth consecutive year and sponsor its third driver following Santino Ferrucci’s departure. The former DCVS driver will be running 20 NASCAR Xfinity Series races for Sam Hunt Racing’s No. 26 Toyota Supra.
It led the race team tapping Jones to return with the team and couldn’t be more excited being back with the group that gave him his first opportunity in the series.
“I started my IndyCar career with Dale, Jimmy and “Sulli” (James Sullivan) have had much success as owners together, and the combination of Coyne, Vasser Sullivan is a proven team over the last 3 seasons. I’m pumped for the opportunity to drive the #18 SealMaster machine and represent the SealMaster franchisees across the country, this really is the perfect opportunity.”
Dale Coyne commented that while Jones left the team to join Chip Ganassi Racing, they’ve stayed in touch where and hopes the 25-year-old can provide impressive results.
“We’re very happy to have Ed Jones back with us and back in the NTT IndyCar Series this season. We were sad to see him leave after his first time with us but we’ve kept in touch since,” said Coyne. “Ed had a great rookie season at DCR in 2017, which included our best finish of third at the Indianapolis 500. Now with DCVS, we hope to continue where we left off with him and look forward to a strong season.”
The 2016 Indy Lights champion last drove in the series part-time for Ed Carpenter Racing and Scuderia Corsa in 2019, where he scored his latest top-10 result of sixth at the Indianapolis 500.
Since his last IndyCar start at Laguna Seca, Jones was supposed to compete in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters for the Audi-powered W Racing Team in 2020.
However, that deal fell through when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Emirati-British racer from competing. Thus, leaving the team without any other choice but put Harrison Newey, son of Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Director Adrian Newey, behind the wheel.
James “Sulli” Sullivan remains hopeful that Jones’ flashes of brilliance will become common ground this season, much like his rookie performance at Indy in 2017.
“We’re full steam ahead having Ed Jones join us, and taking over the driver responsibilities for the No. 18 Team SealMaster machine,” said Sullivan. “Ed has had some big moments in IndyCar, and we expect you’ll see some big moments with us together in 2021.”