Phoenix Racing – or whatever it may be called when its new owner is revealed – will have another new driver in its No. 51 Chevrolet later this year at Watkins Glen.
Australian Owen Kelly, who’s a perfect two-for-two in top-five finishes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at the second road course race of the season.
Kelly finished fourth in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota at the Nationwide race at Elkhart Lake’s Road America last month.
He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the race that the Nationwide action was like “WWE wrestling out there at the end.”
The best thing Kelly has going for him? He’s not Jacques Villeneuve, the ex-Formula One and Indianapolis 500 champion who’s made more enemies than friends in the NASCAR garage, and the driver of the No. 51 at Sonoma.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”