Can Dale Coyne Racing stay hot in Birmingham

Bourdais and the DCR team are focussed and performing at the top of their game in 2017
Bourdais and the DCR team are focused and performing at the top of their game in 2017

Birmingham, AL – Perennial underdog Dale Coyne Racing, working with a fraction of the budget of the bigger teams, has been shooting above their waist all year and are 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.

"I think being in the Championship lead is a great story more than anything else but it doesn’t change anything in our preparation, said Bourdais.

"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."

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.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]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.

“It’s a perfect start to the season with two top-ten finishes," said Jones

"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.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones

"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."

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