Juncos Racing Victorious in St. Petersburg
 April 1, 2014| 
  • Team News

St. Petersburg, Fla. – Juncos Racing dominated the opening weekend of the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with Spencer Pigot claiming the first two wins and teammate Kyle Kaiser finishing second in Round 1 and Round 2 of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Juncos Racing takes the lead in both driver and team points in the Pro Mazda Championship.

Taking control of the Pro Mazda Championship, Spencer Pigot, 20, driving the #7 Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/Vitamin-DPro App/California Scents/Juncos Racing led every lap of Round 1 and 2 capturing the first two wins of the season in front of his home state fans. The young American was perfect the entire weekend topping the speed charts in both practice sessions and qualifying on pole for both races.

“It was a perfect weekend for us,” said Pigot. “I couldn’t be any happier to start the season with two wins. I have to thank the team because they have worked so hard for me and I couldn’t do this without them. The team as a whole did a great job with Kyle (Kaiser) finishing second, José (Gutiérrez) being very fast, and Julia (Ballario) had a great race on Sunday.”

Standing second in the driver’s championship, Kyle Kaiser, 18, driving the #18 InterVision/NetApp/Juniper Networks/Riverbed/Juncos Racing car claimed two podiums finishing second in both Round 1 and 2 on the streets of St. Pete. Kaiser maintained consistency all weekend finishing inside the Top-5 in both practice sessions and qualifying third for Round 1 and second for Round 2.

“I’m very pleased with how the weekend went for myself and the team,” said Kaiser. “I would like to thank the team for working really hard this weekend and giving me a great car to drive. The first race posed a challenge since the track was still drying from the storm and was bombarded with multiple yellow flags. I had a strong start and passed for second going into the first corner. For the rest of the race I was focused on chasing down Spencer (Pigot) and hitting my marks. The second race was very different with the track being completely dry and green the entire time. I started on the front row and held on to a second place after the first corner. For the rest of the race I distanced myself from third place which allowed me to focus on running consistent laps to the checked flag. Overall, it was an awesome experience and I’m looking forward to carrying this momentum into the next race weekend.”

Making an impressive start to the season, Argentinean rookie Julia Ballario, 22, driving the #6 Pistas Argentinas/Juncos Racing car moved up even positions in the field of 20 cars in Round 2 to finish seventh. Ballario finished just outside the top-10 in Round 1 in eleventh place after qualifying in 14th position.

“Round 1 was complicated due to the rain leaving lack of grip on track,” said Ballario. “From the start of the race in Round 2 I felt very safe with the car and I knew I was going to move up the field. I had a great start and was overtaking some cars giving me momentum to continue to pass others as the race progressed. I focused harder and harder as I passed each car giving 100% all race. Thank you to my team Juncos Racing for their hard work, Argentinas Court, Argentina Art, Soledad Demaria, Roberto Alonso, my family and all of the fans who have sent me great messages and good vibes.”

Finishing inside the top-10 for Round 2, Mexican rookie José Gutiérrez, 17, driving the #5 Racing for Mexico/Juncos Racing car, took home ninth after contact forced him to the back of the field to 18th early in the race. Gutiérrez qualified fifth for Round 1 but ended his race early after contact took him out on the first lap.

“It was a disappointing race in the first turn because of contact the #27 made with me from the back,” said Gutiérrez. “I’m grateful the car did not have damage and I was able to finish the race. Even though this wasn’t our weekend I am positive going into Barber next month.”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos was extremely proud of his drivers and crew after giving another victorious performance in the season opener. Juncos is confident the team will continue their success next month at Barber Motorsports Park where they previously claimed the 2014 Cooper Tires Winterfest.

“I cannot be any happier than I have been this weekend,” said Juncos. “This was our best weekend as a team finishing 1-2 in both races and having all four cars finish in the top-10 in Round 2 was amazing. The crew worked so hard all week and it really showed these past two days. I’d like to give a big thank you to our engineer Ernie Gonella who continues to put together four fast cars. Ernie is brilliant and he has a magical talent as an engineer but more importantly he is a very good friend.

"From now on we will continue to push ourselves and keep this momentum going because this is the beginning of a long championship. José (Gutiérrez) did a great job this weekend even though he was hit in both races by the same driver. He (José Gutiérrez) was able to battle his way back (in Round 2) from 18th to finish ninth and run the third fastest lap of the race. Julia (Ballario) had an amazing race today after starting in 14th and finishing in seventh. Congratulations to both Spencer (Pigot) and Kyle (Kaiser) for a perfect weekend! They made no mistakes and gave the team 4 total podiums! I would like to thank everyone that is a part of this great team from the drivers and crew to all of our amazing sponsors and supporters. I’m really looking forward to Barber next month where we won the 2014 Cooper Tires Winterfest.”

The 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires returns next month April 25-27 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. For more information please visit juncosracing.com.

About Juncos Racing: Ricardo Juncos, a former Formula Renault driver and son of a driver, grew up with a deep passion and desire for racing. At the age of 14, Juncos made his first steps in the racing community driving karts in Argentina. Through his success in karts Juncos was able to join the Formula Renault class competing throughout South America. After funding became difficult as many drivers experience over their career, Juncos began working for many race teams in order to continue his own racing career. During this time Juncos was able to learn all aspects of the car in and out, along with schooling in mechanical and electrical engineering.

Stationed in Buenos Aires, Argentina and headed by Ricardo Juncos, “Juncos Racing” became a full-service Formula Racing team in 1997. By 2003, the team relocated to Miami, Florida as a full-service karting team. During the first few years in the U.S., the team picked up 19 local, regional, and national karting titles. Moving right along, Juncos Racing not only moved operations north to Indiana, but it developed into a formula open-wheel racing team in 2008. The team went into full swing, dedicating most of the time preparing drivers and crew members for the next level in racing. Following this transitional year, Juncos Racing participated in its first open-wheel series—the 2009 Star Mazda Championship. 2010 proved to be a big year for the team in the Star Mazda Championship capturing the driver championship and finishing second in the team championship. By 2012, the team’s operations expanded to include cars in the Firestone Indy Lights series and even fastest lap of the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Juncos Racing currently operates out of Brownsburg, Ind.

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