Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Jones Acclimating to Changes Ahead of Indianapolis

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Jones has had a lot of changes in his time in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

After spending his rookie 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season with Dale Coyne Racing, the 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion signed with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2018 season.

Instead of working with four time champion Sebastien Bourdais, now four time champion Scott Dixon takes up the teammate role.

“Obviously they both work tremendously hard and have a huge amount of experience and know exactly what they’re doing,” said Jones. “I guess seeing Sebastien, he goes a bit more hands on in the engineering room, Scott’s always there with the feedback but Seb liked to get involved more with saying what to do with the car and Scott works to help the engineers out and they make decisions. Slightly different but both still achieve great results and I’m just trying to learn from both of them.”

Jones finished third at the 500 last year and is racing for a team that last won the Memorial Day Classic in 2012. With a year of experience behind him, the 2016 Freedom 100 runner-up isn’t as fresh-faced as he was last year.

“I have a bit more experience now,” said Jones. “I kind of know what to expect and what goals to set early on in the month, what you want to achieve in the car and what’s really important rather than a few certain drivers that just love to get a tow time and it’s very irrelevant. Just knowing what the targets are, and what I need from the car and what’s working.”

With the new universal aero kits, the jump from running Indy Lights for two years was a better stepping stone compared to the previous generation manufacturer-based aero kits but Jones’s mentality has not changed.

“I’m approaching it the same way because at the end of the day, that’s what worked,” said Jones. “If I use that same approach, it’s going to be a good thing. I don’t want to really change a huge amount, obviously. I can use things I’ve learned but I don’t want to change my approach.”

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.