Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, thus far the only driver to clinch a spot in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, appeared on Friday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, also broadcast on NBCSN.
Racing has long fought the stigma that it isn’t entirely safe, but so many motorsports championships have taken strides to improve safety and particularly so over the last dozen years. Some of the largest safety improvements in racing since the turn of the century include the creation of the HANS Device (Head And Neck Support), development of the SAFER barriers first at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and now at most oval tracks nationwide, and NASCAR’s own Car of Tomorrow and new-for-2013 Generation 6 car.
NASCAR Sprint Cup has not witnessed a driver fatality since Dale Earnhardt at the 2001 Daytona 500. Johnson took time to address some of the safety improvements and said in his mind, NASCAR is currently safer than the NFL, as it undergoes a transformation of its product to combat its own safety concerns.
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.”