Indianapolis, Ind. – The 2017 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires kicked off with the double header Hi-Tide Kids on Track GP of St. Petersburg / Allied Building Products GP of St. Petersburg this past weekend. Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni earned back to back second place finishes in Rounds 1 and 2. Teammate Jeff Green picked up a Top-10 finish in Round 2.
The first weekend of the 2017 Pro Mazda Championship started off on a high note for Juncos Racing with Victor Franzoni (Sao Paulo, Brazil) taking the fastest overall time in practice on the 1.8 mile, 14-Turn street course located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rookie Jeff Green (Peoria, Illinois) also made his official debut in the Pro Mazda series, finishing 12th in the first and only practice session.
Two qualifying sessions would set the tone for Juncos Racing in the Pro Mazda Championship. Franzoni, driving the #23 Juncos Racing car almost captured the first pole of the year, however had to settle for the second starting position by only a tenth of a second. Green, driving the #60 Juncos Racing car qualified 13th in his first Pro Mazda qualifying run.
The following morning Franzoni once again qualified second for Round 2. Green improved to take the 11th starting position.
Franzoni carried the strong momentum gained in practice and qualifying to Round 1 of the championship scoring a second place finish in his first Pro Mazda race. Green took 13th in his first race in the Pro Mazda series.
Round 2 would almost mirror the results for Juncos Racing from Round 1 with Franzoni claiming his second podium of the weekend taking second. Green showed great pace throughout the race making his way to eighth, however an incident on the second to last lap took Green out of the race ending his day in ninth.
Franzoni leaves the streets of St. Pete second in the Pro Mazda Championship.
“My weekend went well, Juncos Racing gave me an amazing car and they did an amazing job,” said Franzoni. “We had two second place finishes which is good for the championship. This was a great way to start the season and I am really looking forward to the next race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We are really strong there and it is one of my favorite tracks.”
Green’s first weekend in the Pro Mazda series showed great consistency throughout each session on track.
“Only being in a Pro Mazda car for the second time I was happy with my results by becoming very consistent in Race 2,” said Green. “The guys at Juncos (Racing) helped me achieve my goals and I’ve got to thank them because I didn’t have to worry about the car not being perfect, all I had to worry about was my driving. St. Petersburg was a great track to drive and I am looking forward to a great season in the Pro Mazda series.”
Team Principal Ricardo Juncos was pleased to take home two podiums with Franzoni’s two second place finishes and strong momentum gained by teammate Green in his first weekend in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series.
“We had a great weekend back in the Pro Mazda Championship,” said Juncos. “We are happy to be back in the series after we had originally intended on being away for the 2017 season. Both drivers showed a lot of consistency in both of their first weekends in the Pro Mazda Championship. Victor (Franzoni) started off the weekend strong in practice and was able to keep up the momentum in both races giving us two podiums. Jeff (Green) had a great weekend and improved in each session. I am confident both drivers will have great success this season and I look forward to battling back for the championship. I want to thank both drivers for committing to Juncos Racing for the 2017 season. I also want to thank my crew for working so hard on this last minute deal and still able to deliver the drivers fast, reliable cars for the weekend.”
The 2017 Pro Mazda Championship continues May 11-13th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Rounds 3 and 4 on the 2.439 mile, 14-Turn road course.
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.