Despite not finishing the entire 200 laps of the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Kyle Kaiser and Juncos Racing put in a strong effort in the Verizon IndyCar Series during the month of May.
Kyle Kaiser, pilot of the No. 32 NFP/Chevrolet/Juncos Racing car, proved to be a stand out rookie during the entire month of May. The California native and Juncos Racing gave a strong qualifying run making the field of 33 and would go on to start the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 from the middle of the sixth row in the 17th position.
Race day saw close to record breaking temperatures, with a high of 91 degrees, just one degree from the hottest Indianapolis 500 set back in 1937. Once the green flag waved for the 200-lap race on the famous 2.5 mile oval, Kaiser maintained his starting position running in the middle of the pack. During the first pit stop Kaiser had an issue coming into the pit box and was forced to serve a drive through penalty. Despite going a lap down after serving the drive through, Kaiser was battling his way back to the lead lap, running times close to the leaders. The team and Kaiser then completed three more successful pit stops before the day ended early for the rookie on lap 110. A mechanical issue was discovered and the team called off completing the rest of the race, and Kaiser would finish 29th.
Kaiser commented on his first Indianapolis 500, “Obviously, a disappointing end to what I think could have been a really good race. All month has been pretty amazing. We have fought our way back from a lot. We got the car pretty good and had an amazing qualifying and a really good starting position for the race. We fell back in the beginning of the race with a bad pit stop on my part, but we were fighting back. We got one lap back and I know we were going to get the other one back. We had a really good race car. We were hanging with guys that were running up front and we were fighting through the field. We are not 100 % sure what put us out of the race, but we know that it was out of our control. I am just very happy with everything this month. It was a great experience. I was improving and I learned so much. I can’t wait to be back next year. I want to say thanks to the team and everyone on the team for doing their part and bringing me a great race car. I also want to thank NFP for their support and family and friends that came out to make this day possible and to cheer me on.”
Team Owner Ricardo Juncos said, “Even though we did not get the finish we were hoping for, I am beyond impressed and proud of the entire Juncos Racing team. These people put in so much effort and time this whole month and that was proven in both qualifying runs and the race. We faced ups and downs throughout May but came out stronger each session. Our one car program definitely stood out among the teams running multiple cars. Kyle (Kaiser) was very focused and worked very hard with the engineers to find the set up needed for qualifying and the race. I am very proud of him and I know he was capable of finishing inside the Top-10. Even though this is the last race we have scheduled with Kyle this year, I hope we are able to put together more races throughout the season. I want to thank Kyle and his family for believing in our team over the past four years. We were thrilled to have Kyle move up to the Verizon IndyCar Series with us after winning the Indy Lights Championship last year. I also want to thank Chevrolet for their incredible support. They not only supply us with great engines, but the staff they have working with us is always there to provide any assistance we may need. I would like to thank all of the people at NFP for their support for our Indy 500 program. They have been amazing to work with and I hope we can continue this relationship in the future. Finally, a huge thank you to the crew and my family. We are one big diverse family and Juncos Racing, and without these people none of this would be possible.”