Second, Sixth and still in the Championship Lead in Long Beach
Long Beach, CA (April 9, 2017) – Dale Coyne Racing followed up its season opening victory with another great team performance today at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with Sebastien Bourdais finishing second and rookie Ed Jones sixth.
The podium finish by Bourdais keeps him atop the Championship standings with a 19-point lead over Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe. As for Jones, his two top 10 finishes to start the season place him seventh in the points standings heading into the next round.
While the team has had its best start to the season, it didn’t look like it was going to go that way early in the race.
Bourdais, who was starting 12th, had to dodge a flying piece of debris on the opening lap. The Frenchman managed to avoid getting hit in the head but the piece hit and ripped the whole left side of the car’s rear wing, forcing the driver of the #18 Trench Shoring Honda to pit lane for a new one which in turn relegated him to the back of the field.
Fortunately for Bourdais, the repairs were done under a full course caution. When the race resumed on Lap 5, Bourdais was 20th with his teammate Jones in ninth, having already moved up from his 13th place on the grid.
Both drivers, who were on different pit stop strategies, gained positions as the race moved on. By Lap 35 Bourdais was seventh and Jones eighth.
ones then fell to 14th following his stop on Lap 37, but the driver of the #19 Boy Scouts of America entry battled his way back into the Top 10.
By the lap 70 restart, Bourdais was up to third with Jones ninth. The reigning Indy Lights Champion would go on to pass Pigot for eighth and eventually move up to sixth with Bourdais moving into second with six laps remaining in the 85-lap race.
In the final laps, Bourdais had to fend off Team Penske’s Joseph Newgarden to hold on to second while Jones was keeping Carlos Munoz at bay to take the checkered in sixth, scoring his best Verizon IndyCar Series result so far this season.
Jones received praised from team owner Dale Coyne for his on-track performance: “Ed did a phenomenal job. You have to watch Ed during the race. Sebastien couldn’t get around Marco Andretti in the first stint at St. Pete but Ed got around Andretti in the second stint at St. Pete and Ed got around Rahal here. He’s passing people on the track. He’s racing really well. He got a sixth here, he should have had a sixth at St. Pete but he got it here and he’s doing a very good job. I’m very happy with Ed’s progress.”
Next up for the Dale Coyne Racing team will be the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 23, 2017.
What they have to say:
Sebastien Bourdais – #18 Trench Shoring Company Honda
Version française plus bas
“That was an incredible race. At the beginning, somebody lost an end plate or something. It flew by, I dodged it in the car, it went really close and it ripped off the whole left side of the rear wing and rear pod and that’s why we came in so early. It gave us a couple of laps to save fuel, but we played to our strengths. I’ve always been pretty comfortable saving fuel and that one kind of came to us. I was just really surprised that no one played the game. It was feasible fuel wise, for us at least. Good job by Honda, obviously. We lost balance a little bit at the end so I was just trying to hang on to second place. James (Hinchcliffe) really deserved that one. He looked very comfortable and quick up front and I didn’t really have the balance at the end to go challenge him so I just managed for second place. I was kind of thinking Championship a little bit out there! I don’t know that we’re a contender but we’ll find out. We’ll have stayed up there for two races so that’s not too bad!”
Ed Jones – #19 Boy Scouts of America
“It’s great to be in the top 10 again with a sixth. Another great effort by the team as well with Seb finishing second. I said this at St. Pete, it shows the effort that Dale has put into the team with the drivers, engineers, the development, the whole package to take the team to another level this year and the proof is the first two races. It’s clear to see. I’m really excited. We made big jumps this weekend from St. Pete and I can’t wait to get to Barber to make even more. It was a tough race, I was fighting people every stint which is great to do. I had some good battles and at the end it was nice to have the yellow to close everything up a bit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pace to attack Pagenaud in front of me but still, it was a good result and I can’t wait for the next one.”
Sébastien Bourdais en français :
« Quelle course incroyable ! Au début, il y a quelqu’un qui a perdu un morceau d’aileron. J’ai pu l’éviter dans le cockpit mais ça frappé et complètement détruit la partie gauche de notre aileron arrière et c’est pourquoi j’ai dû passer au stand si tôt. Ça nous a permis d’économiser un peu d’essence, ce qui est une de nos forces. J’ai toujours bien su comment économiser l’essence en course et cette course est venue vers nous. Je suis surpris que personne d’autre à tenter le coup car c’était possible de le faire, du moins pour nous ! Merci à Honda pour ça, bien évidemment. La voiture n’était pas assez bonne vers la fin pour me battre pour la victoire donc j’ai préféré garder ma deuxième place. James (Hinchcliffe) la méritait celle-là. Il semblait être assez rapide et très confortable à l’avant. La voiture n’avait pas un assez bon équilibre pour me permettre de me battre avec lui. Je pensais quand même un peu au Championnat vers la fin ! Je ne sais pas si on est de prétendant au titre mais on verra. On se retrouve à la tête du Championnat deux courses de suites, donc ce n’est pas si mal!