TOP-5 FINISH FOR KYLE KAISER IN INDY LIGHTS SEASON OPENER IN ST. PETERSBURG
15 MARCH 2017
St. Petersburg, FL – The 2017 Indy Lights Championship presented by Cooper Tires season kicked off this past weekend with Rounds 1 and 2 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser picked up a Top-5 finish while teammate Nicolas Dapero completed his first weekend in the championship inside the Top-10.
Juncos Racing hit the 1.8 mile, 14-Turn street course proudly debuting the team’s official colors with two green, white, and orange cars for the 2017 campaign. The weekend began with one practice followed by two qualifying sessions for the 15 car field.
The 2016 pole sitter Kyle Kaiser (Los Gatos, California) continued his strong qualifying effort for the second straight year narrowly missing the pole for Round 1 by four tenths of a second. Rookie Nicolas Dapero (Buenos Aires, Argentina) took the 13th starting position in his first Indy Lights qualifying attempt.
The following day began with the second round of qualifying for the Indy Lights field. Kaiser, driving the #18 Juncos Racing car qualified fifth and teammate Dapero, driving the #31 American Brokers / Juncos Racing car, went on to repeat a 13th starting position for Round 2.
The first race of the season proved to be one of the most action packed races around the streets of St. Petersburg with multiple battles going on throughout the field until the checkered flag. Kaiser’s day did not go as planned after multiple incidents caused damage to the right side of the car forcing him to settle for a sixth place finish. Argentinean Dapero worked his way through the field to take home ninth in his first Indy Lights race.
Juncos Racing ended the weekend on a positive note with both drivers improving their final positions. Kaiser, who battled for third throughout the 45-lap race, finished just off the podium to take fourth. Dapero made his way through the pack for the second day in a row to finish inside the Top-10 in eighth.
Kaiser, who took third in a very close 2016 Indy Lights Championship, leaves St. Pete tied for fourth in the championship.
Kaiser said, “This weekend didn’t yield the results we were hoping for, but it’s still very early in the season and we managed to collect modest points to start the championship. I’m very grateful for the team putting in a lot of hard work this past weekend and I’ll be training hard over the next month in preparation for Barber. We showed great pace in the qualifying and races, so I know we’ll be strong at a track we’ve had success at.”
Dapero made an impressive debut in the Indy Lights series collecting two Top-10 finishes and earned the third fastest lap in Round 2.
“I am really happy how the weekend went,” said Dapero. “It was my first time with Juncos Racing in the Indy Lights car on a street course and we were able to meet our goals! We learned a lot each session and were able to finish both races. I am really looking forward to our race at Barber Motorsports Park. Without a doubt we will keep working hard to make it to the top. I can’t thank everyone at Juncos Racing enough for their great job! I can say that we will have a great year!”
Juncos Racing Team Principle Ricardo Juncos said, “Even though we didn’t walk away from the weekend with a podium finish, we showed great pace with both drivers in a highly competitive field. Kyle (Kaiser) had a great first qualifying session and almost gave us the first pole of the year. Nico’s (Dapero) first race weekend went great keeping a clean race in both rounds, and after the past few seasons we know every point counts towards the championship so we will continue to work hard to be back on the podium. I want to thank the crew for the long hours they put into this weekend. I also want to thank the drivers for their continued dedication and work they put in on and off the track.“
The 2017 Indy Lights Championship continues April 21st – 23rd with Rounds 3 and 4 at Barber Motorsports Park located in Birmingham, Alabama.