Photo: Juncos Racing

MRTI: Juncos signs Megennis for Pro Mazda effort

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On the heels of signing Rinus Veekay to a full season effort, Juncos Racing announced earlier today that Robert Megennis, a fellow standout in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, will be joining the team in a second entry for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season.

Megennis contested the 2017 USF2000 campaign with Team Pelfrey and enjoyed a successful year in which he took his first career win at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. He then entered the Pro Mazda rounds at the season finale weekend at Watkins Glen International with Team Pelfrey, but a crash in Race 1 relegated him to a 12th-place finish and kept him from starting Race 2.

Team owner Ricardo Juncos emphasized Megennis’ performance at October’s Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test as a deciding factor in the team’s decision to sign him.

“After what Rob showed us at the Chris Griffis Test this past October, I am thrilled to add him to our Pro Mazda driver line-up. This test really tests a driver since everyone is watching, unlike most other tests when you are there without the pressure of others. Rob ran into some electrical issues the first day of the test, but that did not stop him from putting up the fastest time in the last session and he came back the next day and did it again. After seeing how he performed under this type of pressure I am very confident he will have a great year in the Pro Mazda series,” Juncos said of Megennis’ outing with them.

Megennis expressed both excitement and optimism about joining the Juncos outfit.

“I’m very excited to be joining Juncos Racing for the 2018 Pro Mazda Championship,” said the 17-year-old Megennis. “We had a great Chris Griffis test, where we led sessions on both days. I have a lot of confidence in Juncos’ ability to not only give me the fastest car on the grid but also to help me become a better all around driver. The team has proven itself in every series it’s contested, and I’m confident that we will perform with the new PM-18.”

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Kyle Busch happy with first stint: ‘Put me in the car, there’s excitement!’

AP Photo/Terry Renna
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona debut of the “KB Show” was cut short by a strategy maneuver but still delivered drama and a positive result.

Kyle Busch got the No. 14 RCF GT3 Lexus back on the lead lap and back in contention for a GTD victory at Daytona International Speedway.

“It was good,” Kyle Busch said with a broad smile after a 42-minute stint. “Just, uh, shit, put me in the car, and there’s excitement around! Drove all my way back to the lead lap and everything.

“Overall, we’ve had a good experience and hell I only got one stint in, so I’m ready for more. Sign me up, coach!”

The two-time Cup champion was expected to drive for at least 90 minutes, but the first full-course caution of the race (with 19 hours and 16 minutes remaining) caused AIM Vasser Sullivan to change up its drive plan. Busch was called to the pits in favor of Parker Chase.

“With all the strategy and the way the wave-bys work here, it’s quite different than what we’re accustomed to (in NASCAR),” said Busch, who likely will drive longer now later in the race. “That wasn’t bad. To get ourselves back on the lead lap and back to a position where we can start scrapping again hopefully is what we needed.

“So I got one stint in, but I’m trying to save myself and (teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) for a little later.”

Busch climbed into the car shortly after 6 p.m. as the last of the No. 14’s four drivers. He complained a few times on his radio about traffic, which he said was his biggest challenge.

“There were a couple of instances we ran down a smaller car, and (it was) just mirror driving in front of us,” he said. “That was pretty bad. We lost probably 2 seconds on that. Overall, I guess that’s road racing.

The yellow flag was exactly what Busch’s team needed after being forced to start from the rear of the field when it missed qualifying because of an engine change. Hawksworth, who started the race, said the car was “quick in the wrong places and slow in the right places” after struggling with handling and speed in the first stint.

“I don’t feel we’re out of it,” Hawksworth said. “It’s a very long race. Still early days. We need to work on having speed for the end of the race. The position right now doesn’t really make any difference. We’ll need to find some performance at the end of the race to fight for the win.”