Birmingham, AL (April 27, 2015) – Juncos Racing posted another strong week on track in the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with Rounds 4 and 5 of the Mazda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Rookie Timothe Buret recorded his second podium finish taking second in Round 4 while Canadian Garett Grist picked up his first podium of the season taking third in Round 5 on the 2.3 mile, 17-Turn road course located in Birmingham, Alabama.
Juncos Racing began the third weekend of the Pro Mazda Championship season on a high note during the series two session test at Barber Motorsports Park. Timothe Buret finished second overall, followed by teammates Jose Gutierrez in third, Will Owen in fifth, and Garett Grist in seventh. The team continued their successful run in practice the following day, taking four of the Top-5 spots with Timothe Buret finishing second, Jose Gutierrez third, Will Owen fourth, and Garett Grist in fifth.
Round 4 of the Pro Mazda Championship started off with a full course caution immediately after going green due to multiple incidents on the first lap. Juncos Racing driver Jose Gutierrez, who qualified sixth in the #7 Prisma car, was unfortunately involved in one of the first lap incidents and retired the race without completing a lap due to contact with the #28 of Dalton Kellett. After the five lap caution Buret, who qualified second in the #6 BroadSign car, tried to close the gap for first by posting the fastest lap overall for the race with a time of 1:21.684. The Frenchman had to settle for second, recording his second podium finish in the Pro Mazda series. Teammates Garett Grist, driving the #5 BlackList/Lander Property Management car, took home seventh and Will Owen, driver of the #23 AMR car, finished ninth.
Garett Grist kept the podium finishes alive for Juncos Racing in Round 5 of the championship, after starting seventh and making his way through the field to third, recording his best finish of the season. Rookie Will Owen, who started eighth, finished just off the podium to take fourth. Buret, who made his the second start from the front row, went into a tight battle for the lead when the green flag waved with the #22 of Weiron Tan. Both Buret and Tan went side by side for the start, however Buret was given no room and was forced off track, dropping him to the back of the field. Tan was penalized for the action against Buret and was sent to the back of the field. Buret was able to make multiple passes to finish eighth. Teammate Gutierrez, who started sixth, had another frustrating day when he was forced off track on lap 13 by the #22 of Tan and ended his day due to too much damage.
Juncos Racing Team Owner, Ricardo Juncos is pleased with the performance by all four drivers even in tough situations on track and looks forward to adding more podium finishes as the season continues next month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
“All four of our drivers performed outstanding this past weekend in Barber,” said Juncos. “Tim (Buret) unfortunately had his second race ruined by a fellow competitor before the start, otherwise we expected that he could challenge for his first win of the season starting from second. We are looking forward to the Indy GP, given the pace the team has had there in the past we expect solid results.”
Timothe Buret (Montpellier, France): “I’m really happy to be back on the podium with our second place in Race 1 at Barber. A second place finish is a very good thing for the championship. Race 2 was interesting, at the start of the race Weiron (Tan) pushed me off the track before we got to the final cone. I don’t understand what he was thinking, but all I could do was get back on track to make my way back through the field. I was able to make a few passes, but with not enough green flag laps we could only move up so far. I’m very motivated going into the next rounds at Indianapolis after how much momentum we have created in the last few races. My family will be joining me for the first time this season and I can’t wait to have them here to share the success.”
Garett Grist (Grimsby, Ontario, Canada): “Barber ended up being a great weekend for us! We struggled a bit with the red flag in qualifying which hurt our starting position for the races. Since Barber is such an aero dependent track we knew we had our work cut out for us in the races. In the first race I ended up finishing seventh after going off in Turn-1 on the start and sliding through the grass up into Turn-2. I was much faster than the guy ahead of me, but just no way to pass. In Race 2 I was able to pass four guys on the first lap including three guys on the outside in Turn-2. We had great pace, just need to work on qualifying so we don’t put ourselves in a hole. I can’t thank the guys enough for all of their hard work! I’m very excited for the month of May!”
Jose Gutierrez (Monterrey, Mexico): “I think Barber was a great learning experience. We experienced some new types of race situations. Race 2 was going great for me with an awesome start, but the car started to give me a lot of understeer in turns 2 and 8 and I lost a few positions, but told myself to just finish the race. I saw Weiron Tan coming behind me, so I was trying my best with the car to stay in front. We had a great battle going with Weiron (Tan), but then he decided to try to pass me on the fastest corner of the track and made contact with me and I was taken out of the race. Let’s see what the Race Director thinks about it and let’s forget this weekend and go to Indy 100% focused.”
Will Owen (Castle Rock, Colorado, USA): “Just like Winterfest earlier this year, this weekend at Barber has been up and down, but this time it ended on a good note. I qualified eighth and finished ninth in Race 1 and then had my best finish of the weekend taking fourth. We had a little bit of bad luck, but showed a lot of pace in qualifying. Our luck finally turned around for Race 2 when I was able to get around four cars at the start of the race and was able to make up another position during the race. It ended up fantastic and I’m really excited for Indy because this weekend has given me a lot of momentum and it’s given the team a lot of momentum.”
The 2015 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires continues next month May 7-9th with Rounds 6, 7, and 8 on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Round 6 will be the rescheduled race from NOLA Motorsports Park (North), after the race was cancelled due to weather in April. For more information please visit juncosracing.com and promazdachampionship.com.