Race reviewindycar_R2_Mar.24.2024Thermal Club $1 million Challenge
A new circuit for 2024, the Twin Palms layout at the Thermal Club is a 3-mile raceway that consists of 19 turns. The driving challenge brings together a mixture of sweeping and tight corners, long straights, and elevation changes.
Texas Motor Speedway, Texas April 2, 2023
Juncos Hollinger Racing had two reasons to celebrate as the checkered flag fell at the end of the PPG 375 today (April 2). Callum Ilott scored the team’s best-ever result on an oval as he finished P9, while team-mate Agustín Canapino defied his inexperience at speeds of more than 200mph as he emerged as top rookie in P12.
Texas Motor Speedway provided the backdrop for what proved to be an exhilarating first oval race of the season, with the lead changing hands 27 times in 250 laps and four caution periods adding to the strategic challenge for the teams.
Starting from P17 and buoyed by his healthy practice pace on Saturday, Callum started strongly and was just outside the top-10 at mid-distance. The Briton dropped back after his third pit stop, but fought back magnificently to push his #77 Dallara-Chevrolet into P9 in the closing stages. The result gave the team its best-ever oval race result, surpassing the P11 Callum scored at Iowa in 2022.
Agustín, who was making his oval racing debut this weekend, was one of the stars of the show in Texas as he showed ‘The Power of Possibility’ aboard his #78 machine. The Argentine started from P19 and used his newly-discovered oval confidence to go wheel-to-wheel with more experienced rivals from the very first lap. Making a total of 54 clean passes allowed him to claim P12, and seal the honour of being the highest-finishing rookie.
Results from the second round of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES leave Callum P7 in the overall driver standings on 52 points, while Agustín is positioned strongly in P12 with 36 points.
“There's some things to work on, but overall it's good to capitalize on these kind of results”
Callum Ilott said:
“P9 gives us another top-10 finish in two races. In a lot of ways, we did a good job with some amazing restarts. We had a good car the first half of each stint, but then really struggled on the older tyres which was a bit strange and we need to figure that out. I think we can do some more work to make our pit stops a little stronger but we managed to keep fighting. There’s some things to work on, but overall it’s good to capitalize on these kind of results and get them when we can. I’m now looking forward to Long Beach where we’ll come back fighting again.”
“I think we did a great job with our pace, especially on the used tyres in the middle of the race”
Agustín Canapino said:
“We finish P12 again like we did in St. Pete so I’m really, really happy with that and my overall weekend racing on an oval for the first time. I think we did a great job with our pace, especially on the used tyres in the middle of the race, and that meant I could finish the race in a strong position. I’m very happy to finish in P12 and I’m very grateful to the whole team for the outstanding job they continue to do.”
“We knew we'd have a better race car than in quali and I think we showed today we had the pace.”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“This is the most difficult race of the season. We struggled last year because Callum was a first time rookie. But during the last year we’ve developed a lot of things and I think we showed up this year with a much better package. We knew we’d have a better race car than in quali and I think we showed today we had the pace. I’m very, very happy with the outcome. Callum once again demonstrated to everyone how good he is as a driver and Agustín really surprised me. As a rookie who’s never raced on ovals before, he did an amazing job fighting side-by-side with more experienced drivers and beating some of them. Overall, it’s really good and I’m so pleased with everyone in our team. Big thanks to our partners at Visit Argentina, MindMaze and Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo for their support. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”