Mid-Season Realignment Pays Off With Best Team Qualifying Of The Year
Former three-time IndyCar Toronto winner Sebastien Bourdais narrowly missed making the Firestone Fastest Six Saturday afternoon and will start seventh for Sunday’s running of the Honda Indy Grand Prix on the 11-turn, 1.75-mile downtown street circuit in Toronto.
After a mid-season review, the Dale Coyne Racing team realigned some of its engineering staff. Seasoned engineer Neal Fife joined the team to oversee the #19 Boy Scouts of America car. With Neal’s efforts, along with all with rest of the engineering staff, it has shown a marked improvement here this weekend in Toronto.
“I think the addition of Neal, the hard work of Scotty Raymond and an outstanding team effort was the reason for our success today,” said Bourdais. “This was a great day for the #19 Boy Scouts of America car. This our best starting position of the season and should give us an excellent opportunity to put us in contention to win the race tomorrow.”
“We are determined to build this team into a winning force. I feel really good about the people we have assembled this year, and putting the right pieces in the right place has been a work in progress,” said team owner Dale Coyne.
Rookie James Jakes, driver of the #18 Acorn Stairlifts car, had to settle for a 23rd starting position for Sunday’s race. Out of the 26 drivers entered in this weekend’s race, Jakes is the only driver who has never raced on the streets of Toronto before. All the other drivers have either raced in previous IndyCar/Champ Car races or in the Indy Lights series.
“I’m pretty happy with the performance of the #18 Acorn Stairlifts car today,” said Jakes. “It’s a bit of a disadvantage being the only driver that hasn’t raced here before, but I have learned a lot so far. I am very happy being back on the road/street course for the next three races. The team has done a great job and I think with some luck we can turn in top-10 finish.”
Jakes also has been doing things rookies don’t always do, he’s completing laps and gaining valuable on-track experience. The rookie has completed 732 out of a total 1,033 total laps (71%), while earning four, top-15 finishes on the season.
“James has done an outstanding job in the first half of his rookie season,” Coyne said. “Each week he keeps improving, and I think he has a top-10 or two in him for the second half.”
By: dale coyne racing