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Aug 29, 2014 - 07:09 AM
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Juncos Racing 2014 Pro Mazda Champions: Spencer Pigot Captures Championship
Posted by: newsla on Aug 29, 2014 - 07:08 AM
Support Series News
Juncos Racing 2014 Pro Mazda Champions: Spencer Pigot Captures Championship While Teammates Kyle Kaiser and José Gutiérrez Claim Wins at Sonoma Raceway


In one of the most intense and wild weekends of the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Juncos Racing claimed their first team championship while Spencer Pigot brought home the driver’s championship in a thrilling season finale. Teammates Kyle Kaiser and José Gutiérrez both captured their first wins of the season in Rounds 13 and 14 in the Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. This year Juncos Racing won the 2014 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship, claimed 10 wins (including Winterfest), seven podiums, and 11 poles.

 

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It was a battle until the end for the American Spencer Pigot, 20, driving the #7 Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/VitaminPro App/California Scents/Juncos Racing car who claimed his first championship in the Pro Mazda Series. Pigot was hit from behind early in Round 13 which caused terminal damage to the #7 car dropping him out of the race and put title contender Scott Hargrove in control the championship by two points. Round 14 proved to be one of the wildest races of the season when Pigot was hit from behind early in the race, dropping him deep in the field. Pigot rallied back from 17th to fifth when Hargrove ended his race with only four laps to go due to gearbox issues, putting Pigot back in control of the championship. Pigot claimed six wins and five poles in the 14 race season along with the winning the 2014 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship earlier this season.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the Pro Mazda Championship,” said Pigot. “It was the craziest race I have ever been in. I was hit in Turn-1 and ended up falling back to 17th, but we never gave up and recovered to fifth which was good enough to take the championship. I can’t thank Juncos Racing enough for all of their hard work this season. They have done an amazing job and deserved to be champions. Also a big congrats to Kyle (Kasier) and José (Gutiérrez) for doing a great job this weekend and getting their first wins.”

Ending the season on a high note in front of friends and family at his hometown track American Kyle Kaiser, 18, driving #18 InterVision/NetApp/JuniperNetworks/ Riverbed/ Juncos Racing car claimed his first career win of the Pro Mazda Series in Round 13. Kaiser, who qualified third, took the lead on lap four of Round 13 when drivers Spencer Pigot and Scott Hargrove collided. From there Kaiser took control of the race leading the remaining 13 laps to give him a long overdue win. In Round 14 Kaiser was involved in a collision on the first lap causing the #18 car to fall back in the field and finish 17th. Kaiser finished sixth in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship.

“This past weekend was filled with tons of excitement,” said Kaiser. “Juncos gave me a great car for each session and we ended up qualifying third for both races. In Race 1 I took advantage of some contact between the leaders, enabling me to take the lead and win my first Pro Mazda race of the season. In Race 2 I was an unfortunate victim of a first lap, first corner collision which definitely hampered my efforts for a podium finish early on, but in the end, Juncos Racing, and Spencer (Pigot) came out on top, which was very well deserved for all the hard work they put in as a team. I have to thank Ricardo (Juncos), Ernie (Ernesto Gonella), Peter (Dempsey), Charles (Crews), and Rob (Robert Mexiner) for helping me through this whole season and making me a better race car driver.”

Proving to be one of the fastest rookies this year Mexican José Gutiérrez, 17, driving the #5 Racing for Mexico/Juncos Racing car scored his first victory in the Pro Mazda Series in an exciting Round 14. Gutiérrez who started fifth, stayed patience and clear of the action ahead of him in. When the leader Scott Hargrove dropped out of the race with only three laps to go Gutiérrez capitalized on the moment with the #5 car to take the lead and claim the win. The day before in Round 13 Gutiérrez finished just outside the Top-10 in 11th after qualifying fifth. The young Mexican finished seventh in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship.

“This weekend was awesome,” said Gutiérrez. “Spencer (Pigot) took the championship, and Kyle (Kaiser) and I grabbed our first wins. This was a great weekend for Juncos Racing. My car performed great in the race, and I was the fastest car on track even catching up to Scott Hargrove. When Scott (Hargrove) had a gearbox problem I was able to pass him in Turn-4. When I crossed the finish line I couldn’t believe what I had just done to have won the last race of the Pro Mazda Championship. I feel so confident for next year. I want to thank my mechanic Emma (Emanuel Talquenca) for doing such a great job and all of Juncos Racing that never gave up on us. It was a pleasure to race this year in the Pro Mazda Championship with Juncos Racing.”

Rookie Julia Ballario, 22, driving the #6 Pistas Argentinas/Argentina Art/Juncos Racing car added two more Top-10 finishes to end her season. In Round 13 qualified 11th and finished 10th. The following day in Round 14 Ballario was able to move up the field to take eighth after starting in 11th position. The Argentine showed great improvement and gained confidence this year in her first season finishing 11th in the Pro Mazda Championship.

“This weekend was not the best for me but was a great experience to live within the team,” said Ballario. “Even when they had to struggle they fought until the end to become champions. During the first race the track conditions were very poor due to the oil left from Spencer’s (Pigot) car and it was impossible to have to good grip on the track. Braking with very little grip was difficult and I was passed twice and made it impossible to maintain the position I started in. In the second race I was able to dodge the cars who spun in Turn-2. I spent the whole race running as fast as I could to finish in the best possible position. I want to congratulate and thank all of the members of Juncos Racing for their hard work and sacrifice to make this an amazing year. I owe the team for helping me evolve into the series and always making me feel confident. Thank you very much to my sponsors Pistas Argentinas and Argentina Art for all of your support and company this year, my family for their unconditional support and to all of the people who made this season possible and are helping make this all possible again for the 2015 season. I also want to thank all of the people of Argentina who have followed and supported me on my social networks during each race even during the good and bad times.”

Juncos Racing Team Owner, Ricardo Juncos was extremely proud of his team’s determination and will to succeed even in tough situations this weekend. Juncos is thrilled to bring home his first team championship along with second driver championship in the Pro Mazda Series.

“Going into this weekend at Sonoma we had Spencer (Pigot) leading the championship by 20 points,” said Juncos. “After the crash in the first race, then the crash in the second race we thought we had lost the championship. But everything was able to change around when Spencer (Pigot) pushed his way forward and then Scott (Hargrove) ended his race early due to mechanical issues. That’s what happens in racing, you never know how things are going to end up until the checkered flag. Along with Spencer (Pigot) winning the championship we could not be happier to see two first time winners this season with both Kyle Kaiser and José Gutiérrez. Julia Ballario did a fantastic job never giving up even when on track situations prevented her from getting the results she deserved. I am so proud of what these drivers were able to accomplish this weekend and look forward to watching them grow into the next level of their careers.”

Ricardo Juncos says this was one of the most intense and memorable season to date for the team. The final podium celebration of the season was extra special for Juncos who was able to watch by phone the birth of his second child with wife Danielle Juncos, welcoming a baby girl to the family.

“This was one of the most intense seasons in the six years we have been a part of the Pro Mazda Championship,” said Juncos. “We have worked extremely hard since day one throughout the entire championship. We have wins with three of our four drivers along with multiple podiums and poles. We ran with all four cars leading practice sessions many different times this year. This weekend was something very special for us. We experienced all kinds of emotions and stress, but everything ended up the way it was supposed to. Between the hard work of these four drivers, crew members, engineers, my family, myself, the families of the crew and drivers, sponsors, and Team Sponsors PitFit , OMP, AND Performance Prime, we were able to claim this championship. We all have made a huge effort to make this championship possible. We knew we had the potential to win since the beginning so that’s what we did through hours of hard work and true teamwork. Each person worked so well together and it’s very hard to find people like we have that make up Juncos Racing. These great drivers were able to excel this season through our program which allowed them to grow into the next level every weekend. We have left Sonoma with big smiles. We will remember each person who made up this season forever. We are very proud of all we were able to accomplish. Along with winning the championship my wife and I welcomed our second child on Saturday. I was able to watch her birth through videos sent to me by phone. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, and I am so excited to celebrate with my wife, son, and daughter when I get home. I want to thank everyone who has made this season possible, every single crew member, driver, sponsor, our supporters, and families who all make up our team.”

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