Ed Jones closing on deal to stay with DCR in IndyCar for 2018

Ed Jones closing on deal to stay with DCR in IndyCar for 2018

IndyCar rookie of the year Ed Jones is close to signing a new deal to remain at Dale Coyne Racing, despite interest from rival teams.

The 2016 Indy Lights champion graduated to IndyCar this season, partnering Sebastien Bourdais at DCR.

Bourdais' high-speed crash at the Indianapolis 500 then pushed Jones into the leading driver role and he responded by finishing third in that race (pictured above).

The only full-time season debutant has since attracted the attention of rival outfits after a promising first campaign, but team owner Dale Coyne says a new deal to keep Jones with his squad is close.

"Yeah, I'd say we're close to confirming with Ed," Coyne said. "I'd like to see it done in the next two to three weeks."

Coyne said a key part in retaining Jones was maintaining familiarity and continuity, after victory in the season-opener with Bourdais gave way to a disrupted season in which Esteban Gutierrez, James Davison and Tristan Vautier deputised alongside Jones.

"It's certainly what we want - continuity," Coyne added. "This season was broken up quite a bit in a way we couldn't have imagined - Sebastien's shunt and a lot of other crash damage that wasn't our fault.

"I think we want to keep the team together, especially with the new aero package coming for next year.

"I don't think we'll have any changes in the engineering line-up and I hope not in the driver line-up."

Coyne said Jones lost out on gaining vital experience from four-time CART champion Bourdais in 2017.

"I'm sure he sees it as a missed opportunity to not be able to learn from Sebastien for a lot of races," Coyne explained.

"I think he'd like to really have a full season of working alongside Seb.

"He's done a very good job already, but I think he knows he'll go even faster up the learning curve if he stays here."

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