Indianapolis, INDIANA (May 27, 2012) – In his Indianapolis 500 debut, James Jakes broke into the top-ten of the famed race and ultimately drove the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda to a 15th place finish today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making him the second-highest finishing rookie of the race.

James Jakes, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
James Jakes, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Jakes started today in 17th position as the third fastest rookie of the field. By the time the checkered flag flew, Jakes’ was one of just four of the original eight rookies still running after a tough battle for Rookie of the Year in the 96th running of the race.

By the halfway point of the race at Lap 100, Jakes’ had moved into the top- nine of the field to join his Dale Coyne Racing teammate Justin Wilson in the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q car. With no major mechanical issues to the car and by avoiding contact on track, Jakes’ was able to hold a constant place in the top-12 until the end.

"We put ourselves in a good position with 30 laps to go in the race running in the top-ten," said Jakes. "In my first race here, I am very happy with finishing on the lead lap and a 15th place finish. We tried to catch Rubens at the end of the race to be the leading rookie but just came up short.”

Today’s race set a new record for the number of lead changes in the event. In addition to that, today set a record for the hottest race day has ever been for the Indianapolis 500. In a race that showed huge competition and trying conditions, Jakes’ has a new experience under his belt to help his future.

“I learned a lot in my first Indy 500,” said Jakes. “This is a racetrack that is unlike any other in the world. The Boy Scouts of America team did a fantastic job all day with fast pit stops and giving me a great handling car all race long. The balance on the car was perfect. The wind really affected all the drivers going into Turns 1 & 2, but not as bad in Turns 3 & 4. It was a lot to take in. I am a little bit exhausted after driving 500 miles, but I am looking forward to going to Detroit next weekend and hopefully finally getting the top-ten finish we’ve shown we can do."