Rookie Jakes Shines in Debut
St. Petersburg, Florida (March 27, 2011) – Dale Coyne Racing rookie driver James Jakes day didn’t start like he would have liked it to after a morning crash in the warm-up session, but he managed to end it on a high note with a 15th place finish in Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Jakes crash forced him to start in the 24th position, but managed to move his No. 18 Acorn Stairlifts car all the way up to eighth place just 13 laps into the race. The 23 year old England native maintained that position for 21 laps before working his way up as high as second place on lap 39.
Shortly after pitting during a caution on lap 40, Jakes spun on lap 42 and stalled his car, which put him two laps down on the field and a possible top 10 finish for the day.
“We had a great car today,” said James Jakes. "It was a tough start to the day after I made a mistake in the morning warm-up session and crashed the car. It looked like we might not even make it into the race, but the team did an incredible job fixing the car so I could start the race. I cannot say enough good things about the entire Dale Coyne Racing organization. I am looking forward to running at Barber Motorsports Park in two weeks. Hopefully we can bring home a top 10 for the Acorn Stairlifts team.”
“I thought James did a fantastic job,” said team owner Dale Coyne. “There’s no doubt in my mind that his car would have finished in top ten today. The entire team did a fantastic job getting the car repaired and into the race in just a little over three hours.”
Jakes teammate and four-time Champ Car title-holder Sebastian Bourdais also had an on-track incident in the morning warm-up session when his No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car clipped the inside wall of Turn 11 and made heavy contact with the wall in Turn 13. The damage could not be fixed in time to start the race and knocked Bourdais off the starting grid for the season-opener.
The IZOD IndyCar Series next heads to Birmingham, AL on Sunday, April 10 for the running of the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama on the 17 turn 2.38-mile Barber motorsports Park circuit.
-source: dale coyne racing