INDIANAPOLIS – The way they battled throughout the 40 laps of the Freedom 100, it was only fitting that Dean Stoneman and Ed Jones would complete the closest finish in Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval history.
Stoneman edged Jones by a scant 0.0024 of a second to win the premier event on the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires schedule in front of a thrilled Miller Lite Carb Day crowd.
Starting fifth, Stoneman pushed his way to second place by Lap 9 in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Dallara IL-15. He passed pole sitter Jones for the lead on the next lap and, while Stoneman led 30 of the final 31 laps at the start-finish line, the pair swapped the point numerous times throughout the race.
Jones led next-to-last on a final restart following a caution to retrieve the stopped car of Heamin Choi. Stoneman and Jones raced side by side heading into Turns 3 and 4 on the final lap, setting up a drag race down the frontstretch to the checkered flag. The margin of victory was a few inches.
“It was an amazing race!” said Stoneman, who collected his second straight Indy Lights win after capturing the second race of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis doubleheader May 14. “On that last lap it was pretty close. I knew in the race I was consistent and knew where to position my car to finish the race in the lead.”
Afterward, Jones felt he should have taken the outside line for the race to the checkers.
“I probably chose the wrong lane, it was my fault,” Jones said. “I feel like if I had gone outside maybe I would have held momentum and been able to hold him off. Unfortunately, I made the wrong call. That's what cost us.”
Dalton Kellett, who started 14th, charged from the back to finish third. Shelby Blackstock was fourth to give Andretti Autosport three of the top four finishers. It also marked the 30th Indy Lights win for the Andretti team.
Juan Piedrahita started 13th in the No. 2 Team Pelfrey car and moved all the way to second with what appeared to be the fastest car on track. But he ran into the back of Jones’ car and had to take evasive action to avoid a larger collision, falling all the way to eighth at the finish.