INDIANAPOLIS – Almost everyone kept saying how a sports car driver who happened to make a Formula One start last weekend was going to race for Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. While I never bought that theory, it proved to be false anyways on Wednesday.
Chip Ganassi Racing announced that they have signed defending series Rookie of The Year Ed Jones to a contract to drive the No. 10 Honda next season. That move makes a lot more sense than hiring an unproven driver who wouldn’t necessarily have success in the series.
Nothing against that said driver as I’m sure he’s a nice guy and a decent driver, but he’s unproven. The second Ganassi seat is a coveted ride and deserved to go to a driver of proven talent. From Jimmy Vasser, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alex Zanardi, Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and others, this seat is a championship winning one and hiring the other rumored driver would have been a disservice to that ride and the others before him. A driver like Jones is a championship level talent. It’s a signing out of left field that will absolutely work.
The 2017 INDYCAR Rookie of the Year scored a best finish of third at the Indianapolis 500 this season after taking the Indy Lights Championship in 2016 on the strength of two wins and nine podium finishes.
In 2016 Jones captured the Indy Lights title and the Mazda scholarship with two wins, eight podium finishes and eight pole positions. In 2015, he made the move across the Atlantic with Carlin Racing and into Indy Lights. Jones served notice of his title aspirations right out of the box, earning the first three race victories of the season – the first rookie driver to do so. He went on to finish third in the title chases. Prior to that, Jones earned several karting titles in his native Dubai before making his race car debut in the 2011 European Intersteps Championship. In 2013, Jones became the youngest European F3 Open Champion in history with six wins, 10 podium finishes and four pole positions.
“This is truly an honor to have the opportunity to drive for Chip, his organization and to represent NTT DATA,” Jones said. “Chip runs one of the biggest and best motor racing teams in the world, and equally as important, is a proven winner across each series he competes in from Le Mans to Indianapolis and beyond. I want to get up to speed quickly and learn as much as I can. Scott is a legend in the sport, and to get the chance to team with him is an amazing opportunity. I think I’m joining the team at a perfect time when the playing field is being reset with common aero kits, and everyone is adjusting to a new formula. I’m really looking forward to getting in the car and getting underway with our 2018 campaign.”
Ganassi, was equally as happy to be getting a driver like Jones.
“We’ve been following Ed’s career for quite some time now and are pleased we are able to add him to strengthen our Indy car lineup. He has a year of Indy car racing under his belt now and is the type of young talent that we were looking for. We can’t wait to get him on the race track.”