By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter
Opportunity has always been something that Ricardo Juncos has capitalized on.
Juncos Racing will make their Verizon IndyCar Series debut at the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28.
The 41-year-old Argentinean has eyed expansion into IndyCar for many years, but he has waited until he had a chance to do it right.
This chance came when KV Racing exited the series and sold two of their chassis to Juncos. The move comes just two months after their brand new 40,000 square foot Juncos Technical Center opened its doors.
“It’s been my idea to became a Verizon IndyCar Series team at some point,” Juncos said. “We just moved to the new shop two months ago. I probably didn’t expect it to be that quickly. But here we are.
“Obviously we feel very, very happy for this new adventure, and obviously a lot ahead of us. I’ve been working very hard for the last three or four years thinking of how we can make it happen. We happy to announce it yesterday, and today it’s a reality.”
Juncos is entering uncharted territory for the next chapter of his legacy as he makes the move up to IndyCar. He is entering one of the most competitive racing series in the world and is doing it on the sport’s biggest scale.
Despite having a lot on the line, Juncos is embracing the task with the mindset of needing to learn everything himself.
“The expectation is to learn,” Juncos said. “My goal is to go to the 500, and that’s going to be our first experience ever, at least for me, for my own guys here. Obviously, we’re going to hire guys that have a lot of experience.”
“For me as a team owner, I have so many questions, but I don’t have the answers because I going to find the answers myself. I don’t want to listen to any answers. I just want to experience.
“After that I going to take my own conclusions, make adjustments, then from that point start building the team the way I want it, the way I can see should work.”
That mindset has served him well in the past.
He made the move over to Pro Mazda in 2009 after spending five years in karts. The team transitioned into Pro Mazda and won the 2010 and 2014 championships with future Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Conor Daly and Spencer Pigot. After a stalled attempt to move up to Indy Lights in 2012, they returned and won the title with Pigot in 2015.
Altogether, the team has seven championships, 41 wins and 45 poles across the board in the MRTI.
The other challenge facing him is finding the right drivers. While Juncos’ Mazda Road to Indy program is centered around moving drivers up the ladder, he acknowledges that having an experienced driver to help develop the team is crucial.
“If you can have a driver that has experience, a lot of experience, is better, right?” Juncos said. “It can contribute with a lot of things. This is big, Indy 500. I look it that way. Not just the event itself, the biggest racing in the history of motor racing, but also how challenging is the speedway, how difficult it is, how special it is.”
“We have the experience with Indy Lights. It’s been very tough. It’s difficult for us to really, really understand around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s a unique track that requires experience. Tough course with experienced driver can be a lot of positive for us that we can learn from.
“They can lead the engineers, they can lead the team as well.”