DCR Aims to Keep Up Strong Start to the Season at Barber

Plainfield, IL (April 20, 2017) – Dale Coyne Racing is on a roll entering the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama after registering its best start to a season. The team is looking to maintain and extend its Championship points lead with Sebastien Bourdais while keeping rookie Ed Jones’ top-10 finishing streak alive at this weekend’s third round of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

With a win and a second-place finish in the first two races of the season, Bourdais has a 19-point lead in the driver standings going into the event in Alabama. The Frenchman will be making his seventh appearance at Barber Motorsports Park where he has a best finish of eighth, registered two years ago.

His teammate, Ed Jones, has great memories at the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course. The driver of the #19 Boy Scouts of America car started from pole in both Indy Lights races last year and went on to finish first and second on his way to claiming the Indy Lights title. Jones currently sits seventh in the IndyCar Driver Championship standings thanks to his impressive finishes of 10th at St. Petersburg and sixth at Long Beach.

For the first time this season, Jones will be visiting a track that he’s driven an Indy car on prior to the race weekend. He and Bourdais took part in the IndyCar Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park last month.

Bourdais and Jones will return to the track on Friday, April 21 for two practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session. All practice sessions will be streamed live at racecontrol.indycar.com with qualifying being broadcast on NBCSN starting at 4:30pm ET on Saturday, April 22.

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be broadcast live on NBCSN on Sunday, April 23 from 3:00pm ET (2:00pm local).

Sebastien Bourdais – #18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda
Version française plus bas
“I think being in the Championship lead is a great story more than anything else but it doesn’t change anything in our preparation. We’re preparing like any other race, at a track that I very much enjoy driving at and where the gap between the cars will be like at Long Beach, very, very, very close. Which is also the beauty of IndyCar these days. We had a bit of a difficult test at Barber last month where we weren’t very happy with the car and what we tried didn’t quite work. However, we then had a great test at Sonoma that allowed us to try some items for Barber, and we can’t wait to finally try those and see how they work out. Barber is a very demanding track both technically and physically. There are very long corners that are physically demanding. It might not be the most difficult circuit technically but what makes it difficult is trying to find the right setup on the car. That’s the true test of Barber Motorsports Park. The corners are so long it kind of resembles an oval, where the quality of the car is what makes the difference on the timing sheet. To be able to put in a good time at Barber, your car needs to do what you ask it to.”

Ed Jones – #19 Boy Scouts of America Honda
“It’s a perfect start to the season with two top-ten finishes. It’s good to have a lot of momentum for the team and myself going forward. Barber will be the first track that we go to that we’ve actually tested at recently, obviously, everyone else has also done that, but it gives us more knowledge going in. I think it’s going to be tough. The circuit is one of the hardest on the calendar both physically and technically. There’s a lot of long duration corners and corners that require a lot of confidence. I qualified on pole for both races there last year and won race number one in Indy Lights, so I’ve done well there in the past. I’m confident we can get the car sorted to work our way to the front again. I think my Indy Lights experience should help a lot, at least for track knowledge in certain places, like Barber, and just in general. The Indy Lights car is always on the edge, it’s a bit more loose and so it makes it, I find, a bit more challenging in the races to be fast throughout the whole race. Whereas in IndyCar the cars are more settled. I feel like I have the confidence to push it further towards the limit consistently throughout the race in IndyCar because of the experience I had in the Lights car.”

Sébastien Bourdais en français :
” Le fait qu’on soit en tête du Championnat c’est plus anecdotique et sympa qu’autre chose mais on se prépare comme n’importe quelle autre course, sur un circuit que j’apprécie pas mal et où au général les écarts sont un peu comme à Long Beach, très, très, très serrés, mais c’est aussi un peu l’IndyCar en général de nos jours. On a eu un test un peu compliqué car on n’était pas très content avec la voiture qu’on avait et on a essayé quelque chose qui ne marchait pas vraiment. On a eu un très bon test à Sonoma qui était un petit peu axé aussi sur des concepts qu’on voulait essayer pour Barber donc on va voir si nos expériences qui se sont avérées assez fructueuse à Sonoma vont produire des résultats à Barber. On est un peu dans l’expectative en espérant de voir si ça va marcher.
C’est un circuit exigeant aussi bien techniquement que physiquement. Il y a de longs virages avec des charges assez importants donc physiquement ce n’est pas évident. Je dirais que techniquement ce n’est pas forcément le plus difficile des circuits mais c’est vraiment un test d’avoir une auto très, très bien réglé. Ce sont de très longs virages, je dirais que c’est un peu comme un circuit oval ou la qualité de la voiture fait le chrono plus qu’autre chose. Faut vraiment avoir une voiture bien équilibrée qui permet d’amener beaucoup de vitesse et de la garder pendant tout le virage et avoir une bonne sortie. Il n’y a pas beaucoup de subtilité par rapport à Barber pour faire des chronos il faut juste que la voiture fasse ce que tu lui demande de faire.
(Ses objectifs ce weekend) Je crois que le résultat sera ce qui sera. Dès le moment qu’on aura l’impression d’avoir fait le travail et d’avoir progressé je serai content. C’est sûr que le résultat c’est toujours satisfaisant quand tu sors d’un weekend avec un podium ou une victoire mais la j’avoue qu’après les deux premières courses c’est difficile d’être trop exigeant car on a quand même eu des weekends ou à plusieurs moments on pensait l’avoir échappée et au bout du compte on sort avec des gros points et deux podiums. On verra comment ça se passe. On va essayer de continuer d’avoir du plaisir et voir ce que ça nous amène. “

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