“As I told Ed when we were talking about all this,we both have unfinished business,” Dale Coyne began the press conference. Ed Jones reiterated the phrase a minute later. Jones rejoins Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan for the 2021 season. Jones had a strong rookie season with Coyne in 2017, including a third p[lace finish in the Indianapolis 500.
Jones was hopeful of returning to Indycar, and he and Coyne had maintained a good relationship since Jones left the team for Chip Ganassi racing.
“After the year out, I knew I really wanted to be back in INDYCAR. I was talking to Dale, seeing what we could figure out. . . As Dale said, we’ve had a great relationship. I know a lot of the guys at the team already. Having that extra partnership of Vasser Sullivan, continuing their success, is something I’m really excited to get going with.”
Jimmy Vasser is looking forward to having Jones on the team. Vasser noted his consistency, adding, “…he’s a finisher, and he’s consistent.I think also he gives us a chance to fight for the Indy 500. Three starts, third and a sixth. In my opinion, should have been Rookie of the Year at the 500, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.”
After a disappointing 2019 season in Indycar, Jones had signed on to run the DTM series in Germany for 2020. The COVID pandemic ended that plan. Jones began to think about getting back to Indycar.
“Yeah, so for me there was many options indifferent categories to race in this year. The way 2019went for me was really disappointing, my last year in INDYCAR at the moment. It bugged me. I knew it didn’t reflect what level I could compete at. There’s a lot of young guys in there doing well, and I beat most of them in junior categories, things like that. I know what level I’m at. I know it didn’t reflect that. I knew I needed to get back to INDYCAR, prove what I can do.”
Jones spent some time last year taking online courses from MIT on artificial intelligence and digital business management. He thinks some knowledge he obtained can apply to racing but Jones is also looking beyond huis current career.
“On one thing with the data, it’s something you can use into motorsport, maybe not from a driver perspective, but with data on handling how you use testing the car and things like that. Through simulation, as well.It’s something which can be beneficial in the future, and something which maybe isn’t really important for me now,but something I could use in times to come.”
Jones doesn’t think the aeroscreen will be a huge adjustment and he is looking forward to running the ovals.
“I feel like I’ve always been strong on ovals, short ovals especially. To be honest, if I could race INDYCAR ovals every weekend, that would be my dream thing (smiling). It’s something which I love to do. Although the windscreen is different, it’s just one of the things you’ve got to get used to. I changed from old aerokits to the new aerokit. It’s not a problem. Just something you have to adapt to and it won’t be an issue.”
Coyne said that the team hopes to announce its second driver next week and begin testing in February.