PORTLAND, Ore —
Juncos Hollinger Racing wrapped up their first weekend back on track in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with rookie Callum Ilott in today’s Grand Prix of Portland. Ilott made his official debut among the field in the No. 77 Chevrolet entry and will continue with the team for the final two events this season.
Photo Credit: IMS Productions
The two-day event began with practice Saturday morning followed by qualifying a few short hours later. Ilott, who had only tested for the first time in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES the week before, went on to qualify 19th. The day concluded with one final 30-minute practice session.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned to the track today for the 110-lap race. Once the green flag waved drivers throughout the field went to battle for positions, ultimately leading to multiple drivers going off track or suffering contact. Ilott was able to get through the chaos with only damage to the front wing. Once the race returned to green Ilott laid down strong laps, moving up to eighth before the first pit stop. Just over midway through the race the No. 77 Chevrolet suffered an electrical issue and was towed into the garage for repair. The Juncos Hollinger Racing crew worked incredibly fast and was successful to get the car back on track. The remainder of the race Ilott, who was many laps down, used the remaining time left in the race to gain valuable track time. The Briton ended his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race in the 25th position.
“Overall, it was an interesting race,” said Ilott. “I had a bit of contact during the start, but we were able to make it through. We were able to gain positions, eventually moving up to eighth while everyone was cycling through. Honestly, it was going well, we were in a really good position after the first pit stop. Unfortunately, though we had a little bit of an electrical issue, that we are not sure if it was due to the contact at the beginning, but those things happen. This put us at a stop on the track, so we were towed back to the tent.
“The team worked incredibly hard to get the car back and we were able to get back out but would be over 10 laps down. We were able to get back into a rhythm on track. After the last caution and having the damage we had from the first incident of the race, we decided to not interfere with the race and retired the car for the day. It was a positive first race, we were able to get some laps in and it was unfortunate to have the problems that we did, but that is how it goes. We will move on from here and be ready for Laguna. Thank you to everyone who came out today and those who watched. Thank you to Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger for setting this all up!”
Juncos Hollinger Racing Team Owner Ricardo Juncos said, “These final three events in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES are all about preparation for the 2022 season. We have learned a lot as a team, and have continued to improve each time on track. Callum did an amazing job all weekend, giving the team valuable feedback and laying down some solid times against the rest of the field.
“We all only had one day on track before this weekend, so we knew we would have growing pains and issues to solve, but overall I am very pleased with the work put in by everyone on the team. It was very exciting to be back on track after two years away from the series. There has been so much support for our team since we first announced our return just over a month ago.
“We have had some great sponsors partner with us, so I would like to thank all of them for their confidence in the program we are building. I would to thank everyone in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Chevrolet for the incredible support and help that we have received in order to get us back on track. I would also like to thank the entire team for all of the long hours they have put in to get us here to Portland. Finally, I want to thank Brad Hollinger for all of his support and the friendship we have created, giving us this opportunity to be on track together. We had a great time on the timing stand together and look forward to being back on track next week in Laguna.”