Juncos Racing breaks ground on new home in Speedway, Indiana

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One of the hottest teams in the Mazda Road to Indy has broken ground on its new headquarters on a rather cold day.

Juncos Racing’s new era officially launched January 21, 2016, with today’s groundbreaking following on from last May’s announcement it would be building a new facility in Speedway, Indiana.

The team has confirmed all its drivers for 2016: Garett Grist, Will Owen, Nicholas Dapero and Jake Parsons in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires series, with Kyle Kaiser and Zachary Claman Demelo in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series.

A portion of the release is below, followed by social media posts from today’s announcement:

Argentinean racing team Juncos Racing is today breaking ground on a new facility and headquarters in downtown Speedway. Joined by the Speedway Redevelopment Commission (SRC), Speedway Town Manager Ian Nicolini and President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Doug Boles, Juncos dug the first shovels into its new $3 million, 41,000-square-foot facility situated at the corner of Gilman Street and Allison Way in Speedway.

The facility will house a body shop and office space for its six drivers and 25 employees. An additional 30,000 square feet will be available for future expansion, and Juncos has future plans to do machining, painting and other work in-house, limiting the need for outsourcing. Completion is projected for summer or early fall 2016.

“It is a complete privilege to welcome yet another outstanding motorsports team to our thriving Main Street area,” said Vince Noblet, president of the SRC. “The team’s vision for its new facility is directly in line with our goals for the town and will benefit largely from its neighboring location to the world’s greatest racetrack.”

The returning champions of the 2015 Pro Mazda Team Championship and first-time winners, in their first full season, of the 2015 Indy Lights Driver Championship, Juncos Racing (pronounced June-kohs) is coming off a highly successful 2015 campaign.

“The creation of the Juncos Technical Center (JTC) marks a historical turning point for the team,” said Ricardo Juncos, team principal and founder of Juncos Racing. “Less than 10 years ago, we were a small karting team in Florida, and I continue to be amazed by the amount of growth and success we have seen in such a short period of time.”

“The team has grown larger and stronger each year, which created the need for a facility like the JTC,” he continued. “This new facility will allow Juncos to continue to expand into new series. It wouldn’t be possible without the incredible passion and desire of every member of Juncos Racing, and I am truly grateful for all of the hard work they put in to make this dream a reality.”

The full release can be found here.

Twitter posts of note:

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”