Nico Dapero Earns Two Top 10’s in First Indy Lights Race Weekend
St. Petersburg, FL – The 2017 Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season kicked off this past weekend with Rounds 1 and 2 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser picked up a top-five finish while teammate Nicolas Dapero completed his first weekend in the championship inside the top 10.
Juncos Racing hit the 1.8 mile, 14-turn street course proudly debuting the team’s official colors with two green, white and orange cars for the 2017 campaign. The weekend began with one practice followed by two qualifying sessions for the 15 car field.
2016 pole sitter Kaiser (Los Gatos, California) continued his strong qualifying effort for the second straight year narrowly missing the pole for Round 1 by four tenths of a second. Rookie Nicolas Dapero (Buenos Aires, Argentina) took the 13th starting position in his first Indy Lights qualifying attempt.
The following day began with the second round of qualifying for the Indy Lights field. Kaiser, driving the #18 Juncos Racing car qualified fifth and teammate Dapero, driving the #31 American Brokers / Juncos Racing car, went on to repeat a 13th starting position for Round 2.
The first race of the season proved to be one of the most action-packed races around the streets of St. Petersburg with multiple battles going on throughout the field until the checkered flag. Kaiser’s day did not go as planned after multiple incidents caused damage to the right side of the car forcing him to settle for a sixth-place finish. Argentinean Dapero worked his way through the field to take home ninth in his first Indy Lights race.
Juncos Racing ended the weekend on a positive note with both drivers improving their final positions. Kaiser, who battled for third throughout the 45-lap race, finished just off the podium to take fourth. Dapero made his way through the pack for the second day in a row to finish inside the top 10 in eighth.
Kaiser, who took third in a very close 2016 Indy Lights Championship, leaves St. Pete tied for fourth in the championship.
Kaiser said “This weekend didn’t yield the results we were hoping for, but it’s still very early in the season and we managed to collect modest points to start the championship. I’m very grateful for the team putting in a lot of hard work this past weekend and I’ll be training hard over the next month in preparation for Barber. We showed great pace in the qualifying and races, so I know we’ll be strong at a track we’ve had success at.”
Dapero made an impressive debut in the Indy Lights series collecting two top-10 finishes and earning the third fastest lap in Round 2.
“I am really happy how the weekend went,” said Dapero. “It was my first time with Juncos Racing in the Indy Lights car on a street course and we were able to meet our goals! We learned a lot each session and were able to finish both races. I am really looking forward to our race at Barber Motorsports Park. Without a doubt we will keep working hard to make it to the top. I can’t thank everyone at Juncos Racing enough for their great job! I can say that we will have a great year!”
Juncos Racing Team Principal Ricardo Juncos said: “Even though we didn’t walk away from the weekend with a podium finish, we showed great pace with both drivers in a highly competitive field. Kyle (Kaiser) had a great first qualifying session and almost gave us the first pole of the year. Nico’s (Dapero) first race weekend went great keeping a clean race in both rounds, and after the past few seasons we know every point counts towards the championship so we will continue to work hard to be back on the podium. I want to thank the crew for the long hours they put into this weekend. I also want to thank the drivers for their continued dedication and work they put in on and off the track. “
The 2017 Indy Lights Championship continues April 21st – 23rd with Rounds 3 and 4 at Barber Motorsports Park located in Birmingham, Alabama.
For more information, visit www.JuncosRacing.com
About Juncos Racing
Juncos Racing is a championship-winning Mazda Road to Indy team currently running in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
Juncos Racing was established by Ricardo Juncos in 1997 as a small formula car race program based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After times became financially tough, Juncos relocated to the United States in 2002 where he worked as a mechanic for a small karting team based in Florida. Juncos was then able to open the doors to his own shop and run in karting series throughout the United States.
In 2009, Juncos Racing entered in the former Star Mazda Championship (now the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires), where the team had great success in its maiden season, finishing second in the driver's championship and third in the team championship. The following year, the team captured its first championship in the series with Indiana native Conor Daly. Fast forward to 2015, where Juncos Racing had its most successful season capturing the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver's championship with current Verizon Indy Car Series driver Spencer Pigot and also claiming the Pro Mazda team championship.
The mission of Juncos Racing is to develop young drivers from around the world into the next level of their racing careers through the Juncos Racing Driver Development Program. Through this program, the team not only works with drivers on track to improve their skills behind the wheel, but also gives them the tools needed to understand the engineering and mechanics of the race car. Drivers who have participated in the program and have gone on to compete in the next level include Peter Dempsey, Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippi, Chase Austin, Kyle Kaiser, Nicolas Dapero and Spencer Pigot.
For more information, please visit www.juncosracing.com.