Two Podiums for Juncos Racing at Cooper Tires Winterfest
 February 22, 2015| 
  • Team News

Avondale, La. –  The 2015 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season began with an action packed week during the first half of the Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship. Juncos Racing proved to be one of the most competitive line-ups in the Pro Mazda field in Races 1, 2, and 3 on the 2.75-mile, 16-turn road course at NOLA Motorsports Park (North). Rookie Will Owen made an impressive debut in the Pro Mazda series claiming two podium finishes.

The 2015 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship kicked off with Race 1 at NOLA. Juncos Racing picked up their first podium of the season with rookie Will Owen driving the #23 AMR car to a third place finish in his first appearance in the Pro Mazda Championship. Teammate Garett Grist, driving the #5 Lander Property Management car finished fifth and rookie Timothé Buret driving the #6 BroadSign car took ninth in his first start in the Pro Mazda series. José Gutiérrez, who qualified third, had a rough start to the championship after contact caused a flat tire forcing the #7 Primsa car to pit, putting him two laps down.

The series returned to NOLA the following day for Race 2 of the Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship. Owen continued his impressive run in the Pro Mazda series recording his second podium finish claiming third, while fellow rookie Buret moved up a three positions to finish seventh in his second start in the series. Gutiérrez avoided an on track incident during the race which caused the car to lose multiple positions, ending the race in eighth. Grist, who started third, was involved in a major wreck at the start of the second round, forcing the car out of the race.

The Pro Mazda series concluded at NOLA with Race 3 of the Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship. Grist bounced back after a tough break in the second round, started third and continued running inside the Top-3 for most of the race, finishing fourth. Gutiérrez earned his best finish of the first half of the championship, taking fifth while teammate Owen followed right behind making multiple passes late in the race to finish sixth. Rookie Buret made his way through the field throughout the race, but was penalized for exceeding the track limits, ending the day in ninth.

After an up and down week in the first half of the Winterfest Championship, Juncos Racing Team Owner Ricardo Juncos was pleased with the overall results of each driver in their first start of the year. Juncos was thrilled with Owen’s podium finishes in his debut week in the Pro Mazda series along with fellow rookie Buret’s progress made within the three races at NOLA. Grist and Gutiérrez, who both qualified in the second row for all three races, experienced the most on track drama, however still pulled off top-five finishes.

“We made a lot of progress despite all of the on track drama this week at NOLA,” said Juncos. “Will (Owen) had a great run taking two podium finishes in his first two starts in the series. Timothé (Buret) has shown a lot of potential since coming over from Europe and I’m excited to see what the rest of the season brings for him. Garett (Grist) and José (Gutiérrez) had the most to battle with this week, facing lots of incidents causing them to finish further back in the field, but they both came back in Race 3 at NOLA to finish in the Top-5. Overall we learned a lot this week and I am confident we will be back on the podium in the final three races of the Winterfest Championship at Barber. I want to thank the crew for all of their hard work, giving the drivers reliable cars, and for all of the work they had to do to get Garett’s (Grist) car back on track for the final race. Thank you to all of our friends, families, and sponsors for all of the support they give to our team.”

Driver Quotes:
Timothé Buret (Montpellier, France):
"I am relatively satisfied with my NOLA Winterfest result. The main objective was to pursue my learning of the Pro Mazda car, the Cooper tires and to familiarize myself with the U.S. racing experience. Although the results could have been better, I am happy to have improved over the two racing days and to be able to avoid all troubles on track and see the finish line of all three races. Leaving NOLA I have hope for better results at the next stage of Winterfest at Barber, where I will put myself higher objectives in term of performance. I will continue to concentrate on improving in qualification, which is one of the keys in ranking high in the Pro Mazda."

Garett Grist (Grimsby, Ontario, Canada): “The first round of Winterfest at NOLA was a rough one for me. In the first race the guy in front of me kept cutting the track so I couldn’t pass him. In the second race I was taken out before we even got to the start finish line. It happened to be the same guy that kept cutting the track the day before. For Race 3 the guys did an amazing job getting the car back together in time for the race. Unfortunately I had to miss some practice before the final race. Race 3 went well as I was able to finish fourth with the car not in perfect condition. I want to thank all the guys at Juncos Racing for their hard work this week. Barber should be great!”

José Gutiérrez (Monterrey, Mexico): “Nola was a learning experience for me with different circumstances in the three races. I’m leaving Nola with my head up high and moving on from what happened. I am 100 percent ready to be back on track at Barber next week. I believe that the team and I will work together to get a good result in Barber and leave Winterfest on a high note and go to St. Pete ready to start the 2015 championship.”

Will Owen (Castle Rock, Colorado, USA): “The first half of the Winterfest was awesome. Two podiums in my first two races in Pro Mazda is exactly what I was hoping for and it shows off the hard work of everyone over the winter.  I realized that I have learned a lot, but still have so much more I can improve. Can't wait for Barber!”

The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires concludes the 2015 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship February 25-26 with Races 4, 5 and 6 on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course at Barber Motorsports Park. For more information please visit juncosracing.com and promazdachampionship.com.

About Juncos Racing: Ricardo Juncos, a second generation and former Formula Renault driver, grew up with a deep passion and desire for racing. At the age of 14, Juncos made his first steps in the racing community driving karts in Argentina. Through his success in karts Juncos was able to join the Formula Renault class competing throughout South America. After funding became difficult as many drivers experience over their career, Juncos began working for many race teams in order to continue his own racing career. During this time Juncos was able to learn all aspects of the car in and out, along with schooling in mechanical and electrical engineering. Stationed in Buenos Aires, Argentina and headed by Ricardo Juncos, in 1997 “Juncos Racing” became a full-service Formula Racing team. By 2003, the team relocated to Miami, Florida as a full-service karting team.  During the first few years in the U.S., the team picked up 19 local, regional, and national karting titles. Juncos Racing moved operations north to Indiana, where they developed into a formula open-wheel racing team in 2008. The team went into full swing dedicating most of the time preparing drivers and crew members for the next level in racing. Following this transitional year, Juncos Racing participated in its first open-wheel series, in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship - INDYCAR’s Mazda Road to Indy ladder series. 2010 proved to be a big year for the team with driver Conor Daly capturing the driver championship and finishing second in the team Star Mazda Championship. By 2012, the team’s operations expanded to include cars in the Firestone Indy Lights series and even recorded the fastest lap of the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That same year Juncos Racing took second in the Star Mazda team championship and third driver in the championship with driver Conner De Phillippi while Diego Ferreria was awarded “Most Improved Driver of the Year.” Juncos Racing continued their run in the Pro Mazda Championship (former Star Mazda Championship) finishing second in the 2013 team championship. Most recently the team finished one of their most successful years winning the driver championship, with Spencer Pigot, and the team championship in both the Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship and 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The team operates of out Brownsburg, Indiana.

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