Agustin Canapino continues to “surprise” Juncos Hollinger after a strong PPG 375

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Juncos Hollinger Racing team principal Ricardo Juncos said that he was “surprised” by rookie Agustin Canapino’s strong drive to P12 at the PPG 375 on Sunday.

It was Canapino’s second ever race in the series, and his first on an oval, and after starting P19 the Argentine managed to complete 54 clean passes and place as the top rookie.

And while IndyCar’s decision to add around 10% more downforce to the cars and have an extra practice session to rubber in the middle of the track where the NASCAR PJ1 rubber was lay down – making overtaking easier – it was still an incredible performance from a driver who before the start of this season had never raced a single seater before.

“Agustin really surprised me,” said Juncos in a statement on the team’s website. “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.”

The multiple time Argentinian Touring Car Champion was satisfied with the weekend and noted how his pace on used tyres in the middle of the stint aided his solid result, which is a massive positive considering it can often be difficult for rookies to keep the Firestones working and maintain a strong pace when the tyre begins to fall away.

“I’m really, really happy,” revealed Canapino. “I think we did a great job with our pace, especially on the used tyres in the middle of the race in a strong position.

“I’m very happy to finish P12 and I’m very grateful to the whole team for the outstanding job they continue to do.”

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens

It’s worth noting also that Juncos Hollinger was not expected to perform so strongly at the Texas Motor speedway. The team are only in their second IndyCar season, and do not have a technical tie up with any other outfits meaning that they are on their own with regards to setting up the car and have had no wind tunnel testing.

Ricardo Juncos admitted that it is “the most difficult race of the season”, abdt despite the limitations being felt in qualifying with Ilott and Canapino starting 17th and 19th respectively, a strong race day performance indicated the teams outstanding progress.

Ilott, who is now in his sophomore season, crossed the line P9 after saying that he felt quick at the beginning of each stint but struggled with the older tyres which he recognised as being “strange.”

However, a second top 10 finish for the Brit after he drove to fifth at the season opener in St Pete leaves him P7 in the standings, which is fantastic considering the overall lack of experience and resource the squad currently has.

He said after the race: “There’s some things to work on, but overall, it’s good to capitalize on these results and get them when we can.

“I’m now looking forward to Long Beach where we’ll come back fighting again.”

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens

The team struggled at that venue last year, but after its impressive start to the season it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see them punch above their weight yet again.