Ricardo Juncos had a smile plastered on his face for hours after his Juncos Hollinger Racing team, the smallest NTT IndyCar Series outfit in the paddock, rocked the qualifying session for Sunday’s Monterey Grand Prix by securing second with rookie Callum Ilott in the No. 77 Chevy.
More than the best-ever performance by the team he co-owns with Brad Hollinger, the Argentinian was beaming with pride after seeing the plan he and Hollinger crafted pay off with a front-row start next to Team Penske’s Will Power and ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean.
“We are proving that you need to be convinced of your ideas,” Juncos told RACER. “If you’re not, then you always follow someone from behind. In life you need to…have your plan, your ideas, and you if you believe in it, you need to stick with that. We have many people say that we should do more than one car, but when we started, we weren’t even ready for one car. So what was the point?
“So I think now we show in the result that, actually, things are working. I think we actually believe now even more of what we said, originally. So now, inside the people, inside the team, we are a group of people that just love what we do. And now we are even more convinced that we are on the right path.”
Earlier this week, JHR announced its upcoming expansion to two full-time cars next season, and with its continual ability to punch above its weight, Juncos says the recruitment effort to fill out the staffing needs for 2023 are gaining momentum. Outreaches from those working in Formula 1 and IMSA are among the positives he’s seen as JHR mingles with the bigger teams in IndyCar.
“I think the second car is what we need, but we need to be more consistent to be on top,” he said. “So now we show that we can be fast, but with one car it’s been so hard because we cannot compare to anything. So we only compare to what we think should be doing — something imaginary — or data from last year or three years back.
“We are never sure about…gambling because we are comparing it to something that we don’t know. So on the positive side — right, adding the second driver will be so much more positive for Callum on the technical side. So in one session, we can try three or four or five things and find the right setup faster.
“And we actually have a few new people on the team — in the last few races it’s been going well and we are doing a lot of hiring for next year. We are looking to Europe and many places to get everybody that we need for next year, but results like this…this will only help.”