Newton, IA (July 8, 2017) – Rookie Ed Jones continued to impress today by qualifying a season best of eighth for Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300. His teammate, rookie Esteban Gutierrez also put in a good performance with an 18th place on the grid in his first career oval qualifying.
Jones was the first of the Dale Coyne Racing drivers to take to the track and the fifth in line to qualify. The Dubai-born driver immediately jumped to the top of the charts on his first lap with a time of 17.6351 seconds (182.500 mph) which he then followed up with a lap of 17.6756 seconds (182.082 mph).
The driver of the #19 Boy Scouts of America car sat on the provisional pole for a good part of the session but as the session wound down, his two-lap average of 182.290 mph ultimately placed him eighth on the starting grid.
Gutierrez went out immediately following his teammate and posted a first lap time of 18.0032 seconds (178.768 mph). The driver of the #18 Unifin car then improved on his second lap with a time of 17.8785 seconds (180.015 mph) to register a two-lap average of 179.389 mph. His average speed placed him on the ninth row of the starting field, next to current Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon.
The drivers will have one final practice session later Saturday evening to fine tune their cars for tomorrow’s race. The Iowa Corn 300 will be broadcast live on NBCSN on Sunday, July 9 from 5pm ET.
What they had to say:
Esteban Gutierrez - #18 Unifin Honda
“It was exciting. I really enjoy the format because you go out there and you have to put everything in just two laps. It was a nice experience. Obviously I was finding my way through the run with all the tools in the car. I hope that my experience here can take me further on for the race tomorrow and the next oval as well.”
Ed Jones - #19 Boy Scouts of America Honda
"It was a good qualifying session. The track changed a lot from the morning practice so it was very difficult to drive out there. I think a lot of people struggled but the engineers did a good job deciding what to do with the car and we were able to end up eighth. Now we just need to make some changes to make the car competitive for the race run and hopefully we can get another good result. (How difficult is it to go out and qualify here with such short laps) You just have to rehearse it in your mind before you go out there so you know exactly what to do because it happens so quickly. It’s a lot of fun, you come out and your shaking a bit because it’s pretty extreme.”