TEAM UPDATE 08 \\ 06
BIG MACHINE MUSIC CITY GRAND PRIX_RACE_REVIEW
JHR strike the right note with bold strategy decisions in Music City
Juncos Hollinger Racing’s brave strategy choices helped the team put in a solid performance at today’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, the 13th round of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Callum Ilott made up six positions on the Nashville street course to earn P12 at the checkered flag, while team-mate Agustín Canapino also showed well before a late collision dropped him down to P20.
The combination of a narrow and bumpy circuit and sweltering temperatures culminated in a gruelling physical challenge for the JHR drivers. In an effort to increase air circulation in the drivers’ cockpit, an additional cooling duct was fitted to the cars before the 80-lap showdown began.
Callum lined up on the grid in P18, while rookie Agustín was keen to repeat his good form of previous street courses as he started from P23.
Both men began the 168-mile race with Firestone’s soft green sidewall tires on their Dallara-Chevrolet cars. However, they switched to the harder primary tires early when a tricky start forced the pair to rethink their strategy. Callum quickly benefited from this quick thinking, as the Briton executed five neat overtakes in the following 10 laps.
Heavy rain during practice meant the team had reduced dry weather data at its disposal in Nashville, but that didn’t stop Agustín from testing the limits of his #78 car and showing strong pace on an unfamiliar course.
Both he and Callum looked assured in the middle of the field as the race progressed. Callum manoeuvred himself as high as P4 before falling down the order at the third of his four visits to the pit road.
The 24-year-old steered clear of danger as the yellow flags flew on two separate occasions, however Agustín was unfortunate to contribute towards a red flag stoppage with six laps remaining. His car lost grip during a frantic restart and was powerless to avoid being part of a three-car pile-up at turn 11. He did return to action, claiming P20 in the final classification.
For Callum, his bold strategy move to pit early paid off nicely as he completed the race distance six positions higher than where he started.
“Overall, it was a positive race as I moved forward from my starting position to P12. It was a bit of a strange race; I didn’t really know where I was within the order for half of it.
“We took a bold strategy at the beginning to box early and tried to gain some clear air. In the end it worked, despite having the timing of an early caution period go against us.
“Our pace was good and I kept it clean, which is the most important thing here in Nashville. The pit stops were also good and the strategy worked well, so I’m pretty happy to claim some good points.”
I had strong race pace today. The car was good, but we had a little bit of bad luck with our pit stops and in the final part of the race I had drivers behind me on new tires. It’s a shame because I think we had a car to get a good result. We took some points, and I gained more valuable experience about this street course and the series.
“Now I will take some time to recover because it was a really physically tough race. Thank you to everybody in the team and we will come back stronger at Indy next weekend.”
“It has been a difficult weekend overall with the changing weather situation. However, today’s race was not a bad end as Callum earned a very good result with P12. We had good pace during the race and were able to get some
“Unfortunately for Agustín, a P20 finish after contact with another driver was not the result we were hoping for. He was also running at a competitive pace, having risen from P23 to P16 at one stage in the race. “I want to thank every team member for their huge effort this weekend. Now, we are going to focus on the race next weekend at our home track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
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