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Jones Injured in Practice Accident

Davy Jones, driver of the Monsoon-Galles Racing G-Force-Aurora was seriously injured during the first qualifying session for the opening round of the 1997 Indy Racing League season, writes James Beckett.

Jones, the 1996 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner and also runner-up in last year's Indianapolis 500, was listed in a serious but stable condition after his car hit both the inside and outside walls of Turn 3 at the Walt Disney World Speedway, Florida.

The 32 year old from Lake Tahoe, Nevada, was taken from the track to the Orlando Regional Medical Centre where he was admitted with head injuries. At the time of the accident Jones had recorded a lap speed of 164.556 mph to be the second fastest driver of the day.

The fastest time was set by Team Menard's Glidden/Menard Special driver, Tony Stewart. The 'Top Gun' from pre-season testing, blasted around the one-mile oval at a speed of 167.715 mph. Second in last year's Indy 200 at WDW, and pole sitter at Indianapolis, Stewart threw down the gauntlet to everyone following his performance.

"The characteristics of the car are about the same as last year, " Stewart said. "You have to work harder to get the car up to speed. You are going to see closer racing than last year."

Supporting the IRL race is the opening round of the US Formula Ford 2000 Championship:

Buddy Rice, from Phoenix, Arizona, won pole-position for the 50-lap event with a track record time of 125.58 mph.

Larry Foyt, the son of four-time Indy 500 winner AJ Foyt, qualified tenth fastest and made his first FF2000 field.

James Beckett.

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