Ricardo Juncos’s Road to Indy

His teams have won at Indy before, but the SCCA Runoffs provided Juncos the opportunity to race on the famous track himself

Juncos Racing’s Mazda Road to Indy drivers have won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both Victor Franzoni (Pro Mazda Championship) and Kyle Kaiser (Indy Lights) won on the IMS road course in their way to winning their respective championships in 2017. He recently expanded into the Verizon IndyCar Series, fielding cars for Spencer Pigot and Sebastian Saavedra in the 101st Indianapolis 500, but he hadn’t raced on the hallowed ground himself. The 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs offered him the chance to change that, and he took the Spec Miata that he had had for seven years, qualified and entered the Runoffs.

Juncos began his racing career in karts and then formula cars in his native Argentina. Running out of opportunities there, he moved to the U.S. and formed a karting team, which eventually moved into Pro Mazda, then Indy Lights. Juncos Racing – based almost across the street from the Speedway – has evolved into a Mazda Road to Indy powerhouse. When he had the chance to race at Indy himself, he seized the opportunity.

“I have had this car for seven years, but I only drove it two or three times,” Juncos says. “I knew the Runoffs was here [in 2017], so this is my fourth race in Spec Miata this weekend. The history of the Runoffs is amazing. How many people did it that made history in motor racing like Roger Penske and Paul Newman? So I did the three race weekends in order to qualify. Unfortunately, we had many issues – I was not as ready as I should be for the Runoffs. It was very intense for us. But I am happy to be here, happy to start my first Runoffs and hopefully I can be in many more.”

Despite the issues, Juncos qualified 42nd in the 72-car field (out of 86 entries) and finished 36th – not bad for his fourth race in Spec Miata. And it’s nice to get out and race the car he built many years ago.

“I have friends in Miami and they raced Spec Miatas, so I decided to do it,” he explains. “The car was a street car; we built it with my son and my friend Ernie. Slowly…it took us two years to build it. I really enjoy driving this car.

“We have played with Mazdas for eight or nine years now, so we’ve had a relationship with Mazda for many years. Mazda did a lot for us – as a team, for me, for my family and this country. We feel part of the Mazda family.”

Juncos says he hopes to race more, but business takes priority, and when it’s not work, he’s watching his son play soccer. But he will always relish his laps around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his Spec Miata, even if there remains one moment at the track that he will hold more dear. “This year, when we ran the 500 with two cars, that was huge,” he says. “I don’t think anything, at least in my life, will get bigger than that. That was a moment I am never going to forget.”