Race reviewindycar_R6_May.28.2023Indy 500 by Gainbridge
One of the most famous racing circuits in the world. A challenging banked oval that pushes man and machine to their limits. Originally constructed using 3.2 million bricks in 1909, the ‘Brickyard’ is now a track where average speeds regularly exceed 230mph.
Race start: 12.30 ET.
Indianapolis, IndianaMay 28, 2023
Juncos Hollinger Racing’s month of May came to a thrilling end at the INDY 500 today, as Callum Ilott seized an excellent strategy decision to claim P12, while team-mate Agustín Canapino also impressed until a late collision brought his race to a premature end.
Agustín started his first INDY 500 from P26 while Callum was P27 after a challenging practice led to a late chassis swap just before last week’s qualifying. Both men made a confident start to the 200-lap race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as close to 300,000 NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans watched on.
After two on-schedule tyre changes, the first caution period of the race on lap 91 presented an opportunity for Juncos Hollinger Racing to make an inspired strategy choice. Just before the yellow flags flew, the team saw an opening and instructed Callum to dive into the pit road before his rivals could do the same. It was a decision that allowed the Briton to spectacularly leapfrog the rest of the field. He moved from P25 to P1 in one perfectly-timed move.
When the race got back underway however, Callum was unable to hold off several faster cars behind him but remained close to the leading pack as the race passed mid-distance.
The running order was shuffled again after another couple of rounds of pit stops and fortuitous timing placed Callum P2 and Agustín P3 as the race was red-flagged on the first of three occasions with 20 laps to run.
Unfortunately, both drivers were unable to defend their positions as they were in desperate need of fresh rubber and fuel and promptly dropped back down the order as they headed into the pits for the final time.
Despite Agustín’s assured display during the two-week build-up at the team’s home track, heartbreak struck with seven laps to go when the Argentine rookie suffered contact as he fought to gain a place inside the top-ten. His #78 car was too badly damaged to continue.
Another red flag stoppage created a frenzied one-lap dash to the checker, and Callum kept out of danger to prove the Power of Possibility – the team’s 2023 mission statement. From almost failing to make the starting grid last Saturday, the #77 driver completed the race in an impressive P12 a week later.
“To move up 15 places into P12 is pretty special, so a big thank you to the team, Chevy, and everyone else who has helped us out.”
Callum Ilott said:
“It was a pretty crazy race, going from P27 to leading for a little while. Honestly, we had good pace on our own. I couldn’t get too close to the cars in front, but we kept in it with good restarts and pit stops.
“We did a great job to get the car into qualifying and the race, and our hard work on Monday and Carb Day has brought us to this point. To move up 15 places into P12 is pretty special, so a big thank you to the team, Chevy, and everyone else who has helped us out.”
“We were in position to get a positive result, but it was still a good experience.”
Agustín Canapino said:
“We were in a good position to be fighting for the top ten, but unfortunately, we had the crash with only eight laps to go. It was really bad luck with the accident. Two of the drivers ahead of me collided, one of them did a spin, and I couldn’t avoid him. It was a sad end because the car was feeling good. We were in position to get a positive result, but it was still a good experience.”
“Like Callum, Agustín was doing a really good job and they were both fighting for a top ten finish at the end.”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“I’m very happy with the whole team. It was a great result for Callum, finishing P12, as he was gaining confidence and the car was getting better as we progressed through the race. In the last stint, he was excellent.
“It was a crazy race with so many crashes. Like Callum, Agustín was doing a really good job and they were both fighting for a top ten finish at the end. Despite his collision, Agustín drove well in his first INDY 500 and I’m happy with the team’s hard work after a difficult beginning.”