Ricardo Juncos’ story of coming from Argentina to the U.S. and building a team from scratch, from karting initially through the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, is one of the best in North America. It’s been a 20-year-odd process.
This weekend, Juncos Racing moved from its old shop in Brownsburg to a new one in Speedway, Ind., with the grand opening held Friday night. This took three years of planning and 10 months of construction to move into the brand-new, 40,000 square foot facility at 4401 Gilman St.
The team first announced their plans to relocate and build this new facility in May of 2015 in conjunction with the Speedway Redevelopment Commission. The extensive project broke ground in January of 2016 on the corner of Gilman Street and Allison Way and finished on time in early November.
“This is a dream come true for us at Juncos Racing,” said Juncos. “This facility shows where we came from, where we are, and where we hope to go in the future. I left Argentina in 2002 due to the huge financial crisis the country was in and came to the United States. I had $400 in my pocket and no clear direction of where my career in racing would go. To think that we would one day be moving into our own first class facility was not even a vision.
“However, two years ago the idea of this building became a reality and now here we are. We’re very excited to welcome everyone to our open house this Friday to showcase the future of Juncos Racing. I would like to thank the Town of Speedway, Speedway Redevelopment Commission, Tim McGovern (McGovern Construction), Scott Perkins (Blackline Studios), Dale Kruse (Kruse Consulting), Don Spencer (Spencer Engineering), the team and drivers, and my family for their incredible support this past year in making this opportunity possible.”
The 40,000 square foot building hosts multiple office spaces, eight car bays, a paint booth, simulator room, and machine shop along with parking for multiple transporters.
Additionally, this wasn’t the only bit of Juncos news confirmed over the weekend. Kyle Kaiser will be back with the team for a third season in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. He’s the team’s second confirmed driver along with rookie Nico Dapero, and should be a championship contender.
“Ricardo (Juncos) is an extremely passionate and dedicated team owner, and it has been a privilege to drive for him the past three years,” Kaiser said. “The work ethic from everyone in the team has made Juncos competitive every race weekend, and I’m thrilled to be returning for another year. It’s great to be working with a group of guys that I know so well and can trust to do everything it takes to win a championship.”
Photos and videos from the shop grand opening as posted on social media are below:
The two-day Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test concluded on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Combined times after the two days of running are below, with Nico Jamin (Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires) and Oliver Askew (Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires) remaining on top from Saturday to Sunday, and Darren Keane (Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda) supplanting Andres Gutierrez at the head of that field.
Previous notebooks are linked here (Friday, Saturday), with additional Sunday notes to follow.
Several drivers pulled double duty between series, namely Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport in Pro Mazda and USF2000), Carlos Cunha (Juncos Racing in Indy Lights and Pro Mazda) and Aaron Telitz (Team Pelfrey in Pro Mazda, RJB Motorsports in USF2000). Telitz (above) added a run in Pro Mazda in Team Pelfrey’s No. 82 car; the Wisconsinite has done a lot of the series’ testing for the new Pro Mazda Tatuus PM-18, and had hoped to run all three series. We’ll have more meanwhile on Thompson and Exclusive’s double in the days to come; the Michael Duncalfe-led team out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was one of three new Pro Mazda teams adding those cars to USF2000 efforts (Pabst Racing, BN Racing) this week.
There were a handful of drivers that changed cars or teams for Sunday’s second day of the test, primarily in USF2000. While Keane ran both days at Newman Wachs, the Brian Halahan-managed team ran David Osborne and Oscar DeLuzuriaga in the Nos. 37 and 38 cars, taking over from Jake Craig and Max Peichel. Osborne switched from Team Pelfrey, where he ran Saturday, and where Jacob Loomis ran Sunday. Justin Gordon ran a second Exclusive Autosport chassis, switching to the No. 90 on Sunday after running the No. 92 Saturday.
The PM-18 best lap set by Askew is more than three seconds faster than the series’ official track record (Pato O’Ward in 2016, at 1:22.8800, 105.941 mph). Askew’s best time of 1:19.8142 averages 110.010 mph around the 2.439-mile circuit. Neither the Indy Lights nor USF2000 cars eclipsed the existing lap records in those categories.
Drivers largely extolled the PM-18’s outright pace and potential with the horsepower upgrade, in what is a significant step forward for the series. “Following prototype testing of the new PM-18, I believed that we had a special race car and this weekend’s testing confirms that,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Based on team and driver comments, this is a fantastic race car and I am very pleased with what Tatuus, Elite Engines and my team have assembled. It fits perfectly in between the USF-17 and the IL-15 in terms of lap times and, more importantly, it takes what a driver learns in the first step and introduces higher HP, higher grip and higher aero. This will be a great training car for years to come, and seeing our program now with three excellent and well-designed cars is very satisfying to me.”
Keane, one of the few veterans (relatively speaking) within USF2000 was plugged in this weekend as the only driver outside Pabst Racing to threaten the top of the timesheets. “It’s a good boost in confidence for me heading into next year. I am really happy with how everything is going with the team. They are a great group of guys and it’s just really good to see us improving and being where we want to be,” he said.
Rinus Veekay hailed the Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 Mazda this weekend in his first test there, although the talented Dutch teenager may well focus on Pro Mazda next season and shoot to win that championship, and continue his battle with Askew established in USF2000. “The car is very nice, quick,” noted VeeKay. “You can really feel the downforce and it was a pleasure to drive.”
The MRTI is done with official running for the year, but the $200,000 MRTI Scholarship Shootout remains in December at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the former Firebird Raceway, outside Phoenix. The winner of that will get a ticket into USF2000 for the 2018 season.
Full MRTI spring training will take place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February 2018, with undoubtedly a bevy of driver and team announcements to come over the following months.