LONG BEACH, Calif – I said it back in October when Chip Ganassi Racing hired Ed Jones to replace Tony Kanaan in the No. 10 Honda, that this was a championship winning move. It may not happen in 2018, but it wouldn’t take long.
So far, Jones is exceeding expectations. If not for a crash with 21 laps-to-go last Saturday night in Phoenix, Jones would be heading to Barber next weekend on the heels of two straight podium finishes and three top 10 results in three tries.
Jones, was second when he crashed in Turn 3 at Phoenix while trying to avoid lapped traffic. This weekend in Long Beach, he brought his car home third, tying his best career Verizon IndyCar Series finish.
Just call him big race Ed if you’d like.
His best finishes have come in the biggest races on the schedule. He finished third last year as a rookie in the Indianapolis 500. Now, he’s third in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Imagine where he’d be in the standings if he had two podium finishes in three tries.
“Well, Long Beach has been a great track for me in the past,” said a happy Jones after the race. “Great fans, great atmosphere…and second to only to the Indy 500 in terms of support in my opinion. It was tough though out there today. We had been struggling with the NTT DATA car on cold tires. Once we got heat in the tires it was better. I’m really pleased with the result though. It’s just my third race with the team and I was able to equal my best result in the Verizon IndyCar Series. I think this gives me and the team a lot of confidence heading into Barber next week and I can’t wait to get started there and see what the weekend holds.”
What’s impressive is, he’s doing this with bad starting spots.
In Phoenix, he started 11th and was running as high as second. At St. Pete, he started 17th and finished eighth. This weekend, he started 13th and came home with a top five.
Jones, has been good at Long Beach in the past too. He won in Indy Lights competition in 2016 and was sixth at Long Beach as a rookie last year.
What a quiet start to the year for the second year driver. He’s impressing.