Jones Loses Out By the Smallest of Margins in Freedom 100 Thriller
 May 29, 2016| 
  • Team News

Carlin’s Ed Jones claimed second in the Mazda Freedom 100 today, losing out on victory in the closest ever finish in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  After starting from pole, Jones was a front runner throughout the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race in a race that saw plenty of changes for the lead.  After a last lap attack, Jones looked to have the victory, only for the timing screens to show Dean Stoneman 0.00024 seconds ahead at the line.  Felix Serralles had an eventful race and crossed the line sixth, while Neil Alberico put in a stunning drive to take seventh after starting 15th, claiming the fastest lap on the way. 

With the rolling start slightly delayed due to debris at turn three, it took a few laps behind the safety car before Jones was able to lead the field down the start finish straight when the green flag was finally shown.  The championship leader made a good start to lead the field into turn one, while behind him team mate Felix Serralles was also flying, moving up to second.  Also enjoying a good start after running four wide was Alberico, who had moved up to 13th from 15th on the grid.  

Racing action came to an abrupt halt at the end of lap one however, with the first of several yellow flags thrown after Kyle Kaiser hit the wall.  At the restart Jones managed to hold onto the lead, while Serralles momentarily lost momentum and was passed by Stoneman and RC Enerson.  Stoneman and Enerson went on to pass leader Jones too, with the Carlin man briefly back to third.  

With the race characterized by several changes for position at the front, Jones re-passed Enerson and started to attack Stoneman for the lead again.  Alberico meanwhile was making excellent progress, setting the top speed in the race and moving up into ninth place.  

Jones had plenty to contend with at the front, fighting with Stoneman for the lead while Shelby Blackstock also closed in on the back of his Carlin Dallara IL-15.  At the half way point, Jones was running second, Serralles was sixth and Alberico was ninth.  A few laps later Jones took the lead back, only for Stoneman to relegate him to second again a lap later, in a battle which would rage to the very end.  

The yellow was thrown once again after a spin for Jones’ championship rival Santiago Urrutia and again at the restart, Jones took the opportunity to steal back the race lead.  The action wasn’t over though, Stoneman re-passed Jones once again with Juan Piedrahita also moving through into second.  

The final yellow of the race was thrown after Heamin Choi stopped and with only three laps remaining Jones was third Serralles was seventh and Alberico eighth.  With one lap to go the white and green flags were shown, with Jones taking the most of the opportunity to storm through into the lead.  Stoneman was fighting back though and for the final two corners of the race, they were side by side.  Down the start/finish straight Jones almost looked to have the lead, but at the chequered flag Stoneman took the victory by 0.0024 seconds.  Serralles meanwhile crossed the line in sixth, with Alberico just behind in seventh. 

Speaking about his race, Jones said, “I had a good start but there were quite a few cautions.  Once Dean passed me, I tried a few times to take the lead back, but then I was just sitting behind him waiting for the last few laps. Obviously the safety car periods changed things up a bit.  

“Coming into the last lap, I’m not sure quite what happened, Dean seemed to slow a bit because Piedrahita suddenly went off behind him, but I still got the run on him and passed him into turn one and then kept it flat going into turn three.  I feel like I chose the wrong lane, I think if I’d gone outside maybe I would have held a bit more momentum and held him off.   I think that cost us.  It’s frustrating, especially because I feel like the team gave me a car to win the race.  To lose by such a small margin – I can’t think of how it could have been much worse.”  

Trevor Carlin added, “Ed and the whole team should be very proud of our performance this weekend.  Ed lost out by the smallest of margins, but he was right there at the flag and his consistency has put him in a very strong place in the championship standings.  I think we’ve more than shown now that as a team we’re the complete package; we know we have a quick car on road courses, street tracks and ovals.  I couldn’t be prouder of the effort the team have put in this week and we move on to Road America determined to keep pushing.” 

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