Ricardo Juncos is working at a frenetic pace to keep his expansive racing team in motion.
As one of the great stories to emerge from the 2019 Indianapolis 500, the Argentinian is chasing a similar upturn in fortunes to keep the No. 32 Chevy in play as the month of May approaches.
“In IndyCar, we’re still working to finds sponsors, so unfortunately, the time it takes for some of these corporations is slow motion compared to where we need to be in racing,” Juncos told RACER. “And as much as we did last year, and had a huge impact in the media side, the marketing side, to make it to the race and after crashing, I thought it was going to be easier this year to find the money for Indy. But it’s not the case.”
Kyle Kaiser’s improbable qualifying performance that knocked Fernando Alonso out of the Indy 500 field led to a big reaction from sponsors looking to cover the bare white car for the race. A crash ended the Juncos Racing fairytale, leaving the team to sit out the rest of the season and raise the funds to repair the car and purchase the new aeroscreen required to compete in 2020. Juncos says the No. 32 is ready for the necessary updates to the Dallara DW12 tub to mount the driver safety device.
“Obviously, I’m facing the updates of the car,” he said. “We’re still hoping to find the way to be in Indy 500, which was my goal from the beginning. I knew that going to the full season is difficult. And I said before that I just don’t want to be there just to be there. We are in line at the moment waiting for our turn for the modifications to the tub. What I want us to do is just have the car ready to go. The car was ready in December for a potential driver that we almost closed the deal, but we couldn’t make it happen.
“So the car was ready to test in December, and now it’s disassembled and it’s ready to be updated. But like I said, my situation is that I need to obviously put a lot on the car, or invest a little more. It’s not much, but it’s still some investment on the updates, and then be ready at the same time. I don’t want to miss the opportunity for the Indy 500, which is the most important [race] for us at the moment.”
Juncos recently announced his team’s return to the Indy Pro 2000 series, where his driver Rasmus Lindh finished runner-up last year. Beyond the middle tier of the Road to Indy, things have gone rather quiet within the shop as his foray into IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a Cadillac DPi-V.R came to an end.
The Juncos Indy Lights effort, which scored six wins and placed Rinus VeeKay second in the championship, continues to search for drivers, and on the IndyCar front, drivers are needed as well. From competing in three open-wheel series and one sports car program in 2019 to uncertainty of what the new season will hold for his team, Juncos is at a crossroads where positive news is needed less than two weeks out from the first IndyCar and Road to Indy races of the year taking place.
“It’s a little bit frustrating, because the Road to Indy is so important to my business,” he said. “I have my two Indy Lights car ready to go, but I’m just starting to find drivers willing to at least pay below the cost to run the cars… The business model is very hard.
“It’s hard for me to believe that we were 33 times in the podium – just in 2019 alone – between the Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights. Fourteen poles and nine wins together between Indy Pro and Indy Lights means nothing, which is amazing. I’ve actually found a sponsor to help with the budget, but it’s still not enough. All we can do is keep pushing and try to make something happen very quickly.”