TOP-FIVE FINISH FOR KYLE KAISER AT WATKINS GLEN
04 SEPTEMBER 2016
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires returned to Watkins Glen International this past weekend for the first time since 2010, replacing the originally scheduled Boston Grand Prix that was cancelled earlier this summer. Juncos Racing just missed the podium with American Kyle Kaiser, taking fourth in Round 16 of the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
The week at Watkins Glen kicked off on Tuesday, August 30 with a three-hour long open test. Teams returned to the track Friday for two practice sessions on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn road course located in upstate New York. Juncos Racing proved to be the quickest team on track with Kyle Kaiser recording the fastest time overall Friday while teammate Zachary Claman De Melo finished fourth.
The following day qualifying saw some of the closest times of the season with most of the field separated by less than a half-second. Kaiser qualified fourth and Claman De Melo took the ninth starting position.
The weekend concluded that same day with lots of action during the 25 laps of Round 16. Tire degradation would prove to be the biggest factor for multiple drivers throughout the race. Kaiser, driving the #18 InterVision/NetApp/ JuniperNetworks car, battled within the top five for most of the race, finishing just off the podium in fourth. Claman De Melo, driving the #13 ZCD Montreal car, had a tough start on the first lap after contact forced him to pit to replace the front wing. The young Canadian went on to finish ninth.
“Although the final result wasn’t what we were hoping for, I was really happy with the performance we had this race weekend,” said Kaiser. “The team did a great job giving me a competitive car for qualifying and the race. Heading into the last race weekend we’ll have a strong package to compete for wins.”
“Overall it wasn’t the result we wanted,” said Claman De Melo. “It’s too bad because the pace was there this weekend and we had a strong car. Hopefully we can carry the momentum over to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.”
Team Principal Ricardo Juncos said, “We learned a lot as a team this week at Watkins Glen. Both drivers proved to have the speed needed to be up front in practice, but we could just not completely translate that into qualifying with everyone being so close. I am happy with Kyle’s top-five finish which keeps him in the hunt of the tight championship. He drove a smart race and was very close to earning another podium. Zach had a tough break from the start when contact put him in the pits on the first lap to replace the front wing. After that his lap times were on track with the leaders, but with no cautions he had no way of rejoining the field to try to make a charge for the front. I am looking forward to the season finale next weekend where we have proved to be very successful at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the past. I would like to thank the team for all of the hard work they put into this long week at Watkins Glen, thank you to both drivers for their dedication on track, and to the families for all of their support.”
The 2016 Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season concludes this week September 9–11 with Rounds 17 and 18 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. For more information please visit juncosracing.com and indylights.com.
About Juncos Racing: Ricardo Juncos, a second generation driver, grew up with a deep passion for racing. Juncos made his first steps in the racing community driving karts throughout Argentina. After funding became difficult, Juncos worked for teams in order to support his own racing career. During this time Juncos took courses in mechanical and electrical engineering to fully understand racing on and off the track. Ricardo Juncos established Juncos Racing in 1997 as a formula team operating in Argentina. Six years later, Juncos Racing moved to Miami, Florida where they became a respected karting team recording multiple local, regional, and national titles. After a successful run in karts, Juncos Racing moved north to Indianapolis, Indiana the “racing capitol of the world,” in 2008 to join INDYCAR’s Mazda Road to Indy series. After only two years in the Star Mazda Championship, the team finished second in the 2010 championship while Conor Daly won the driver championship. Juncos Racing continued their run in the Pro Mazda Championship (the former Star Mazda) taking second in the 2012 and 2013 championships. Most recently 2014 proved to be one of the most successful years for Juncos Racing, winning the driver championship with Spencer Pigot and team championship in both the Cooper Tires Winterfest and Pro Mazda Championship. Juncos Racing expanded operations in 2015 to include two Indy Lights entries along with four Pro Mazda cars. Recently the team captured the driver Indy Lights Championship with Spencer Pigot, and took home their second consecutive team Pro Mazda Championship.
For more information, please visit www.juncosracing.com