Daly Tops Time Sheets at First Official Series Test with Juncos Racing, Vernon and Calderon Consistently Shave Off Seconds SEBRING, Fla., January 25, 2010 - Conor Daly drove the ...
Daly Tops Time Sheets at First Official Series Test with Juncos Racing, Vernon and Calderon Consistently Shave Off Seconds
SEBRING, Fla., January 25, 2010 - Conor Daly drove the #22 Juncos Racing machine to the top of the time sheets in three of the six sessions that took place during the first official series test at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida this weekend. With a best lap time of 2:00.588, the 18-year-old not only set the pace for the rest of the field, but he also set the bar for Juncos Racing as the team approaches its second season in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
"It was a really good weekend overall," said Daly. "We were quickest in most of the test sessions, and the Juncos Racing team was fantastic. Anything that needed to be done got done very quickly which was great. I'm extremely happy with the organization and operation aspects of the team and genuinely enjoyed the weekend with them. It's definitely a sign of more good things to come."
Daly, son of racing legend Derek Daly, is hoping to return to the Star Mazda Championship to compete in the 2010 season. After finishing third in the Championship last season with one win, six podiums and nine top-five finishes, there is no doubt that Daly's return to the series could see him winning the 2010 Championship title.
Court Vernon, 17, demonstrated that he too has what it takes to win by making a significant improvement from an initial best lap time of 2:05.107 on the first day to a fifth place worthy time of 2:01.722 in the final session. With the faster time, Vernon placed two Juncos Racing drivers in the top-five quickest times while simultaneously achieving his personal goal of clocking in a lap time that would have him competing at the top of the field.
"Coming into the weekend, I was hoping I would be competing at the top of the time sheets," said Vernon. "I came out of the weekend with consistent top-ten times, so I'm happy to say that my goal was completed. I really learned a lot from Juncos Racing this weekend, and I'm thankful I had the opportunity to do this test with them."
The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver made a strong name for himself last year when he clinched second place in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda Championship at Road America in Wisconsin. The series then awarded Vernon the 2009 Rookie of the Year title thus further highlighting his skills and capabilities.
Tatiana Calderon, 16, showed what a determined and dedicated young individual she is this weekend by consistently cutting down her lap times each test day. On Saturday, Calderon shaved two seconds off her fastest time on Friday, and by Sunday, the young Colombian had knocked another two seconds off her fastest lap time from Saturday giving her a best overall lap time of 2:03.240.
"I didn't start the weekend as well as I wanted," said Calderon. "At first, I was having some problems with the way I was braking, but then the team explained me how to improve on what I was doing so that by the end I was doing much better. Sebring International Raceway is a very long, fast and difficult track, so I'm happy with how the weekend went overall. I know there is room for me to improve even more for next time, though. Juncos Racing is a very good team to be with, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season with them."
Calderon was a member of Juncos Racing once before when she competed on its karting team in 2005 and 2006. Now, after winning several international karting titles over the past few years, she is ready to take her partnership with the team to the next level by trying her hand at racing a Pro Formula Mazda.
Team Owner Ricardo Juncos was extremely impressed over the weekend with the talent of these three young drivers as well as the overall chemistry within the team. "I was really happy with the whole team this weekend," said Juncos. "They did a great job like they've never done before. It was our first time working with Conor and Court in a Star Mazda car and only our second time working with Tatiana.
"Conor is a really nice kid and very easy to work with. He also gave us some very precise and valuable feedback which was amazing. We didn't use new tires the first day, but we still were able to place in the top five. Once we put new tires on Saturday, we were quickest in both sessions that day, and by the last session on Sunday, we were half of a second faster than the second place driver.
"Court really impressed me this weekend. I worked with him back in 2003 when he raced his first year in go-karts. It's been a long time since then, but I was so happy to work with him again and see him place in the top five fastest times this weekend.
"Tatiana knew this weekend was going to be tough at first, but she really did a great job. She kept improving in every session and clocked in her fastest time on the last lap of the last test session. It's great to be working with her again. It was a truly great weekend overall. Now we are looking forward to testing again in February to get ready for the first race in March."
After a successful testing weekend with the series, Juncos Racing is looking forward to conducting more testing of its own in the upcoming weeks in preparation for the start of the season. The first race of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship is scheduled to take place at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida on March 19.
-source: junco racing