By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS — Juncos Racing had two sponsor deals fall through on them very recently before practice began Tuesday for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Ricardo Juncos’s team has expanded operations in the last few years. They compete in the Road to Indy in Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 which has been their primary operation for the majority of their existence but last year ran the majority of NTT IndyCar Series races. The team expanded to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a Cadillac DPi entry this year, but the Indianapolis 500 remains their crown jewel.
Which is why, despite not having sponsors, the team is committed to the month of May with a car that for the moment is all-white. Alarm bells may not be ringing, but the situation isn’t ideal.
“The financial situation is all set regardless of the sponsorship situation so we’re going to race no matter what,” Juncos told Motorsports Tribune.
“Maybe we’ll race with a white car or maybe something will be on it but that’s already set, that’s why we’re here. Yes, two deals that we had in the last two weeks failed, that’s why the car is all white and not even with Juncos colors because we were thinking it would happen but it’s okay, we’re going to keep pushing.”
The team has a couple of small deals together that are not decal-placement deals, but the hunt is still on for more money and other cost-cutting measures have been used.
“I still have something going on on the table so maybe with a last minute deal we can have some logos on the car,” said Juncos.
“If not, we will race like that. We do have some sponsors with no logos on the car, some small backings for this year. We’ll try to save money so I bring the people from other teams that I have so we try to make it as cheap as possible. That’s one way to do it which is not the best way but we should be okay.”
Kyle Kaiser is the team’s driver and raced for the squad in Indy Lights when he won the 2017 championship. He qualified 17th for last year’s Indianapolis 500, but dropped out with mechanical trouble. The California native isn’t letting the sponsorship situation change his procedure.
“From my mindset, it doesn’t change no matter what’s on the car, if there’s nothing on the car, if the car is covered in sponsors, which obviously is what we’d love,” said Kaiser.
“But for now, I go out there and I drive the car as best I can and put the car at the front every chance we can. Hopefully if we perform the way we’re supposed to perform, then we’ll have people coming in to get on the side of the car.”
Juncos came to the United States in 2002 after the Argentinian economy collapsed with nothing more than $400 and a backpack. After working for another karting team, he found the money to start his own, which eventually morphed into Juncos Racing.
The organization grew to the point that a new race shop was needed and was opened in December 2016 ahead of buying the cars KVSH Racing were selling as part of their liquidation.
Provided that Juncos makes the race and a full-time entrant does not make the race, the he is open to a deal with putting sponsors from another team on his car if the price is right.
“I will be open, yes, of course,” said Juncos. “If that circumstance came, first of all I have to make sure we qualify, but if that’s an option, it’s welcome.”