Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.
Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Kaiser Proud of Indianapolis 500 Effort

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS– Kyle Kaiser might have one of the best environments in which to grow during his journey in the Verizon IndyCar Series. After several years driving for Juncos Racing in the Mazda Road to Indy, the 2017 Indy Lights champion put together a strong 17th-place qualifying effort for his first Indianapolis 500.

Despite not everything being perfect, the team knew the challenges ahead.

“It’s the hardest race of the year I think because you have so much time to practice,” said Kaiser. “That sounds like ‘Wow, what a great thing that’s so much time,’ but you give engineers enough time to work on something, you’re going to try stuff you never thought you’d be trying.

“I’m not throwing my engineers under the bus by any means because they’ve done an incredible job but I think this speaks to all the teams and all the guys that are out there. You get led down paths that are not the right way and you can get lost and I think  the biggest hurdle for us is we almost went down that path or we almost got led down a way that we did not want to be but we kept working hard, we were persistent with changing a lot of stuff and staying on top of it so I guess that’ll be our biggest hurdle.”

The Ricardo Juncos-led squad ran in last year’s Indianapolis 500 with Sebastian Saavedra and long-time their longtime MRTI driver Spencer Pigot and a two car effort stretched the team to its limits. By scaling back to one car for Kaiser, the team was able to devote all of their resources to his effort. Adding a second car would be a benefit but only after being successful in the first year.

By having more than one car, there is a risk of having too much data to sift through that could lead a team down the wrong path, especially with a younger, more inexperienced team.

“I’m sure next year would be optimal,” said Kaiser. “It would just be a matter of getting a full program. Ricardo (Juncos) wants to do it right, if we’re going to do a two car program he’s not going to do a one full-car budget and then a half-assed second car if you know what I mean. I don’t think that’s in his agenda by any means so if we’re doing two cars they’re going to be a full effort on both cars.”

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.