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Race reviewindycar_R15_Aug.25.2024Portland International Raceway

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A track built where the city of Vanport once stood before it was destroyed by a flood in 1948, Portland International Raceway is a natural road course. The 1.96-mile lap has a fast a flowing configuration, with several places where it’s possible to pass.

12 Turns

110 Laps

216 Miles

Portland International Raceway

Portland, OregonSeptember 3, 2023

Juncos Hollinger Racing’s early promise at Portland International Raceway didn’t return the race results the team wanted at this afternoon’s Grand Prix of Portland. Callum Ilott ended the penultimate NTT INDYCAR round of the year in P15 while Agustín Canapino was classified P26 after suffering a retirement.

Both JHR drivers showed impressive speed yesterday and Callum rightly took the plaudits for his best qualifying performance of the season. The Briton earned a P8 starting spot for this afternoon’s 110-lap race.

Meanwhile, rookie Agustín quickly got to grips with the 1.9-mile circuit before he narrowly missed out on progressing into the ‘Fast 12’ shoot-out yesterday. He ultimately lined up P19 today.

Firestone’s alternate tire was the preferred option under Oregon’s sunny skies for qualifying, but the team opted to split the tire strategy in today’s overcast and cooler weather.

That meant Callum’s #77 Dallara-Chevrolet started the race with the red sidewall tire, while Agustín’s #78 car used the black sidewall primary rubber first.

As the race went green both men started well, but Callum soon found himself embroiled in a chaotic opening lap. The 24-year-old was forced to take avoiding action at Turn 7 before then taking hard contact from a rival. That demoted him to P16. Agustín moved up several places in the opening exchanges to sit P17.

Despite his car suffering damage that compromised its handling, Callum recovered well and rose to P11 before visiting the pit road on lap 18 for a switch to the primary tire.

Agustín opted to stay on track longer than his rivals however, and set his fastest lap time just before diving into the pits.

Both men showed solid speed during their second stint before heading for fresh rubber on lap 49 as part of a three-stop strategy.

Shortly after making his final stop, Agustín was unlucky to lose grip on cold tires and spun off the track at the high-speed Turn 11. The incident damaged the underside of his car and engine. He retired with only 18 laps left to run.

Callum continued to battle hard at the road course where he made his JHR debut in 2021, and at the end of the 216-mile Grand Prix, he passed the checkered flag in P15 to secure another solid points haul with only one race remaining at Laguna Seca.

Callum Ilott Car #77
“It was not an easy race, but we kept at it and got some decent points. I just wish it was a little bit better considering our starting position.”
 

Callum Ilott said:

“It was a tough race; I didn’t get the best of starts. Unfortunately, I was forced wide by another car and was stuck on the kerb in the dirt. I was hit by another car and picked up damage, but was able to continue.

“I struggled a bit on the first set of tires and that put us on the back foot from there. We were able to work throughout the race to get the car back into a decent window and we had good pace at the end. But unfortunately the damage was done from the beginning.

“It was not an easy race, but we kept at it and got some decent points. I just wish it was a little bit better considering our starting position. There’s quite a few positives to take from this weekend and now I’m looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca.”

Agustín Canapino Car #78
“We were doing a good job during the race, but unfortunately I made a mistake with the cold tires.”
 

Agustín Canapino said:

“We were doing a good job during the race, but unfortunately I made a mistake with the cold tires. I needed a bit more experience and I’m sorry for the whole team, Ricardo and Brad. It’s a shame because we were in a good position to battle inside the top-15.

“Now I have to look forward, and try to finish positively when we visit Laguna Seca for the final round of the season.”

Ricardo Juncos Team Principal
“So, not the results we targeted after showing really good pace throughout the weekend and yesterday in the warm up.”
 

Ricardo Juncos said:

“It was a very difficult race today with a lot of incidents on the track. Callum’s car wasn’t the same after the first lap contact he suffered and it was a little bit misaligned. But I think he recovered really well and P15 was a great result after what happened to him.

“For Agustín, unfortunately he made a mistake on his new tires after the final pit stop. It was quite a cold day and probably needed an extra lap or two to get the tires up to temperature and the proper ride heights on the car. I think he missed a bit of that and went off slightly on a fast corner, damaging the bottom of the car and engine. He had to switch everything off and retire the car.

“So, not the results we targeted after showing really good pace throughout the weekend and yesterday in the warm up. But we now need to move forward quickly and look ahead to next weekend at Laguna Seca so we can make a good result for the team and get what I think we deserve.”

 

Matthew Brabham led home the Juncos Hollinger Racing cars at the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Portland this afternoon. The Australian-American completed the 35-lap race in P9, while team-mate Victor Franzoni claimed P11 after an eventful race.

Both men were in an optimistic mood for the 12th round of the season after showing good pace in Saturday’s qualifying session at Portland International Raceway. As the race went green, Victor left the line from P6 and Matthew was P17 – a legacy of his late spin in qualifying.

As the field hurtled into the Shelton Chicane on the very first lap, Victor got caught in a five-car melee and damaged the front wing on his #75 machine. That meant an unscheduled dash into the pits for the Brazilian as a full course caution was introduced to recover the stranded cars at Turn 1.

Victor dropped down to P11 as a result of his contact, but team-mate Matthew benefited from the trouble at Turn 1. He leapt from P17 to P8 in a single lap.

When racing got back underway, Matthew tried hard to make further progress up the leaderboard but he couldn’t quite find the pace to overhaul the similarly matched cars ahead of him on the 1.9-mile lap. He therefore had to settle for P9.

Victor meanwhile, had to serve a ‘stop and hold’ penalty in the pits for his involvement in the opening lap collision and although he momentarily dropped to P12, he recovered to P11 as the checkered flag fell.

Victor Franzoni Car #75
“Now we focus on Laguna Seca where we have two races. I think we can have a good weekend there if we carry over the good work that we did here at Portland.”
 

Victor Franzoni said:

“The weekend was going well and I felt comfortable with the car. I think we were very quick and did an amazing job on the set-up from what we had in the past. Every decision we took was great and we improved a lot.

“Unfortunately, the Turn 1 contact was my fault. I took slightly too long to decide whether I would go left or right in the braking zone and when I realised I couldn’t stop the car. I made contact with the back of Reece’s (Gold) car. I’m sorry to all the drivers, teams and Juncos Hollinger for what happened. It was an honest mistake that can sometimes happen in motorsport.

“Now we focus on Laguna Seca where we have two races. I think we can have a good weekend there if we carry over the good work that we did here at Portland.”

Matthew Brabham Car #76
“It was a tough weekend for me, but the team and I worked hard to recover and get faster as we progressed through the sessions.”
 

Matthew Brabham said:

“It was a tough weekend for me, but the team and I worked hard to recover and get faster as we progressed through the sessions. We started from the back of the grid in the race and still managed to finish inside the top 10 which was pleasing.

“I think we have good potential and can definitely be really fast and running up at the front, we just have to put it all together. Not a bad ending to the weekend but plenty of work to do heading into Laguna.

“Big thank you to the team for all the hard work and the opportunity to drive. We will go hard and push for the last two races.”