JHR bring home improved finishing positions at the Brickyard
Indianapolis, IndianaAugust 12, 2023
Callum Ilott and Agustín Canapino showed their battling qualities as they improved on their starting spots at the conclusion of today’s Gallagher Grand Prix, finishing P17 and P21 respectively.
Juncos Hollinger Racing began round 14 of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES determined to move forward after a disappointing qualifying session on Indy’s road course yesterday. Callum lined up in P24, while Agustín started P22 when the 85-lap race went green. Both men opted to start on Firestone’s primary rubber.
The opening INDYCAR lap is always frenetic and the start of the Gallagher Grand Prix was no exception. Callum and Agustín pushed forward straight away, gaining several positions in the process. However, the order was quickly neutralized when yellow flags flew after a multiple-car collision at Turn 7.
On the restart, Callum continued his surge up the field and moved into P15 on the seventh lap – nine positions above his starting spot. Rookie Agustín also made solid progress during the opening exchanges as he made up three places.
The team opted for a three-stop strategy, and the first round of visits to the pit road came on lap 14 when Callum made his move to switch to the softer alternate tire compound. Agustín followed a lap later.
A lack of caution periods for the remainder of the race meant the team strategists had little opportunity for brave decision-making. However, JHR did split their strategy on the second round of stops. Callum remained on alternate tires while Agustín reverted to new primary rubber.
The iconic ‘Brickyard’ circuit was bathed in warm sunshine during the latter stages of the 207-mile race as both of the JHR drivers maintained the pressure on their rivals ahead. But as the laps ran out, so did any realistic opportunity of making further progress.
Callum’s #77 Dallara-Chevrolet therefore crossed the Yard of Bricks seven places higher than he started, while rookie Agustín had improved by one position as he took the checkered flag in his #78 machine.
“Overall, we gained some good points but it was not an easy weekend.”
Callum Ilott said:
“We had a mega first lap of the race, moving from P24 to P13. I exceeded track limits after being forced off on the straight so got put back to P17 for the restart, but that was still a good gain. From there, I struggled a bit to get on the pace and lost out on track position in the second stint.
“The second pit stop was pretty good and we made some forward momentum, but the race had already played out for us. Overall, we gained some good points but it was not an easy weekend.”
“It was a tough race today. I started pretty well as the first two stints were good, but unfortunately the new primary tires did not work as hoped.”
Agustín Canapino said:
“It was a tough race today. I started pretty well as the first two stints were good, but unfortunately the new primary tires did not work as hoped. I lost time during that stint, as I was just behind Callum beforehand. However, I put on the red tires at the end and recovered the pace.
“We finished the race and earned some good points, and now we will turn our attention to the next race in Illinois. I’m looking forward to the next round, as we have been strong at the oval courses this year.”
“We did not have the qualifying results we hoped for yesterday, and we couldn’t quite find the speed in the car all weekend.”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“We did not have the qualifying results we hoped for yesterday, and we couldn’t quite find the speed in the car all weekend.
“You cannot leave anything on the table at this level, so we tried our best to have a strong race performance. But with only one early yellow flag period, it was difficult to make something happen.
“Agustín’s race was hurt by the performance of the new set of black sidewall tires. We hoped these would perform well, as we had only one set of used red sidewall tires for that stint. But it wasn’t to be. However, his pit stops were very good and I think that we are really competitive in that area.
“I think Callum’s P17 and Agustín’s P21 finishes were the best that we could have achieved in the circumstances this weekend. We are disappointed, but we will keep pushing forward in our development.
“Lastly, I want to thank every team member for their huge effort this weekend. Even when the results are not what we would like, I can see the progress we are making inside the team. We’re always looking forward and I think that will pay off in the long run.”