By Tony DiZinno
Juncos Announces new Speedway, Ind. Location
As TSO predicted on Wednesday, Juncos Racing will be moving its headquarters from Brownsburg, Ind. to Speedway, Ind., to join the bustling Main St. district as the fourth INDYCAR-related entity in the area.
Further details of the team’s move followed in a press conference on Thursday. Notably, the team will be building a brand new, $3 million, 41,000-square foot facility, which will be known as the Juncos Technical Center. McGovern construction is expected to begin in June, with completion projected for early spring 2016.
Team owner Ricardo Juncos spoke of his journey from Argentina to the U.S. starting in 1997, and said he seeks to grow a little bit more every year. This expansion and new facility, he said, marks the team’s biggest step yet.
Eventually, Juncos said, the goal is to become a team in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The team currently runs two Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires entries for Spencer Pigot and Kyle Kaiser, and four Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires entries for Garett Grist, Timothe Buret, Jose Gutierrez and Will Owen. Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said he expects to one day see Juncos in the Indianapolis 500, and eventually win it.
Juncos made a point that the Mazda Road to Indy isn’t just for drivers, but for training young engineers and mechanics as well. He spoke of his long-term relationship with Pigot; Pigot told TSO he knew Juncos Racing when it was “just a warehouse,” and has since seen it grow over the last decade or so.
All around, good news for the team, for the area, and for the Mazda Road to Indy as Juncos is an example of a team that could one day grow into an IndyCar operation.
Several drivers in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires paddock suggested the degree of downforce levels will have a key impact on the race itself. It’s estimated the gap between a low downforce and high downforce setting could be as much as 4 or 5 mph on the straightaways.
Beyond the downforce levels, some drivers noted how fast the tires come up to temperature on the opening lap or two. Tire management throughout a stint will undoubtedly be a key throughout this weekend’s pair of Indy Lights races.
Max Chilton’s Carlin crew worked 15 hours to turn a brand new Dallara tub into a car before he made it out for first practice today. Chilton’s teammate, Ed Jones, told TSO that Chilton’s car hit a kerb on exit of the Turns 5/6 chicane complex, and that’s what caused the damage.
Both Jones and Chilton praised the circuit, with Chilton in particular noting he liked the smoothness. Chilton said between the elevation changes at Barber Motorsports Park and the smooth nature of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, he’s now visited two of the best tracks the series goes to in succession.
TK’s Bus that Isn’t
If you happen upon the Pro Mazda and USF2000 paddock, you might see Tony Kanaan’s old bus by the Team Pelfrey setup. And no, TK isn’t staying there for the Month of May.
The bus actually belongs to a friend of Team Pelfrey team manager Nigel Tuckey, and has been in their possession for roughly one year.
Why is it still in livery? According to Tuckey, the bus is fully painted, not wrapped. So it will take a bit of work to remove the old TK colors and get it painted – or wrapped – in trademark Pelfrey yellow and black.
More to follow this afternoon. Both USF2000 and Pro Mazda’s second practice sessions are in the books. Indy Lights’ second session will follow after IndyCar practice, while Pro Mazda will have its first race of three this weekend later this evening.