IndyCar driver Ed Jones believes that the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award was effectively decided before any driver had turned a wheel for the race, having lost out to Fernando Alonso in the media vote despite finishing third on debut.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso qualified fifth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and spent much of the race running towards the front of the pack before fading and ultimately retiring due to an engine failure.

Jones - also making his Indy 500 debut after stepping up from Indy Lights - enjoyed a strong two weeks for Dale Coyne Racing, capping it off with a charge to third to mark the team's best result at the race.

Despite finishing as the top rookie in the race, Jones lost out in the media vote for the Rookie of the Year award, with Alonso getting the nod instead.

A public outcry followed, and while Jones admitted he felt frustrated initially, he said he is nevertheless proud of his performance and result on his Indy 500 debut.

"Obviously at the time when I found out, I was pretty frustrated. But at the end of the day, I don't really have to say anything about that," Jones told

"As you said, I think everyone else on Twitter showed what they thought. We were fighting for the overall win of the race. As great as Rookie of the Year would have been, I was up there fighting for the win.

"Going into that '500, I think Rookie of the Year was decided before anyone turned a wheel on track. It's annoying, but at the end of the day, the fact that I was fighting for the win is more important to me."

Jones felt no difference in pressure - for better or for worse - with Alonso on the grid, saying that he treated the three-time world champion like any other competitor.

"Obviously it was great to have him there, great for the event, great for the sport. But we were doing our own job and doing really well," Jones said.

"We had the second-fastest time of the whole month, the second-fastest speed of any time in the whole month. We were ahead of him in the race before he blew up. We were strong the whole month. That's what we were focusing on.

"Like I said, it was good to have him there, but we didn't treat him any differently on-track."



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