Juncos Racing’s third attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 has been called into doubt after two main sponsors withdrew ahead of tomorrow’s opening practice session.
Team owner Ricardo Juncos, whose junior open-wheel Road To Indy programs won in two classes last weekend during the Indy Grand Prix, says he remains committed to putting the No.32 Chevy on track for Kyle Kaiser, who qualified 17th last year as a rookie for the single-car team. Juncos fielded two cars on its Speedway debut in 2017.
At this stage, however, the Argentinian can’t make any guarantees on whether his team will have to budget to keep going at the Brickyard, provided the young Californian earns one of the 33 starting spots, when the 103rd running of the Indy 500 arrives on May 26.
“Unfortunately, we lost the two main sponsors that we thought was going to happen,” Juncos said. “The second one was just last week. But we are here and you know the car is ready, Kyle’s ready, the team is ready.”
With the No. 32 car sitting ready in white to be wrapped in the colors of the two sponsors, it was unloaded this morning looking like an empty canvas.
“It’s just going to be a little white car, but we’re not going to lose the motivation, we’re going to keep pushing,” he said. “And you never know, right? There’s been stories that I found that maybe the last two weeks, even the last week, you might find something before the race. So, we’re going to focus, obviously, now it’s time for the whole team to focus on practice, qualifying to make sure we perform as good as we did last year. And build the momentum from there, you know?”
After apprising his team of the monetary issues he’s facing, Juncos shifted the conversation to preparing for practice and qualifying as if everything is going according to plan. With the Juncos Racing crew, and Kaiser, looking ahead while their team owner chases funding, Juncos hopes to keep any distractions to a minimum.
“So right now, we are in and we are committed and we are going to focus 100 percent on performance,” he said.“We really believe in ourselves, we believe that we have a good team, good driver. We just need to do a little better than last year and we should be okay. You never know in racing, anything can happen. Even we can be out of the race, like happened with good drivers last year. So, nobody has the ticket in this year; there’s an extra car compared to last year’s. So we know how difficult it is.
“The pressure of the money side is just my pressure. And I’ve got to make sure my pressure is not interfering to the sports side of the team, which is a performance on the race itself and qualifying in practice. It’s not going to be the team’s issues.”