A Two-Lap, Wet Qualifying Session Challenges Juncos Racing Drivers, Debut Driver Martin Scuncio Narrowly Misses Potential Pole Position
Braselton, Ga. (September 30, 2010) - Today's qualifying session was anticipated to be wet, but the shortened amount of qualifying laps was what ended up being unexpected for the whole field. After only two laps of green flag qualifying, a red flag came out which stopped the session for a good twenty minutes. By the time the session restarted, the rainfall was at its heaviest, causing most drivers to opt out of attempting to go out and obtain a quicker lap time. Despite the unfavorable circumstances, the four Juncos Racing drivers managed to solidify starting positions of second, fifth, ninth and 13th for tomorrow's race.
The biggest excitement-turned-disappointment for the team was debut driver Martin Scuncio's performance this afternoon. On his second lap, the Argentinean-born driver turned out a lap time that would have put his #60 Juncos Racing Mazda about six-tenths ahead of the rest of the field and on the pole position. Unfortunately for Scuncio, the red flag came out just seconds before he passed the start/finish line resulting in him losing the quick lap time. Though the 19-year-old was only able to clock in one official lap time, he will be starting his first ever race in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in fifth position tomorrow.
"The car was great," said Scuncio. "We had a really fast second lap that would have put me on the pole, but then the red flag came out and we lost the lap time. We're definitely okay for tomorrow, though. The car is perfect, and I can't wait to race it in my first Star Mazda race."
Starting in second position will be 2010 Champion Conor Daly in the #22 Juncos Racing/INDECK/The College Network/Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda. The 18-year-old approached this afternoon's qualifying session with a strategy that didn't quite have the chance to play out in its entirety. Nonetheless, the standout driver delivered another solid qualifying effort that will see him starting tomorrow's race on the front row.
"It was an interesting session for sure," said Daly. "We chose a bit of a different strategy that we were hoping was going to take advantage of everyone else who was preparing for the rain. We went out on used tires and put in a pretty good lap time, but unfortunately, the red flag came out pretty early in the session which meant we didn't get to try any sticker tires. Oh well, it was worth a try, and the team is still doing a great job as always. I'm looking forward to the race now. Hopefully it doesn't rain tomorrow, but if it does, I don't mind because I like the wet. Whatever happens happens, and I'm ready to go."
Teammate Rusty Mitchell was another driver whose lap time potential was affected by the faulty session. The 27-year-old's best lap out of the two he was able to get in will see him starting tomorrow's race in ninth position.
"I was trying to warm up the tires at the start of qualifying, so we only got one clean lap in and weren't really pushing," said Mitchell. "It's unfortunate that there was a red flag followed by heavy rain, but hopefully I can get a good start tomorrow. We've got a really good car, so I think the race will be interesting."
Rookie Tatiana Calderon will join teammate Rusty Mitchell tomorrow in his quest to gain track positions during the race. Like Scuncio, Calderon was only able to produce one official lap time before being cut off by the early red flag. The 17-year-old from Bogota, Colombia will start tomorrow's race in 13th position.
"We only had one lap to qualify, so it was really difficult to have the feel of track and the car," said Calderon. "I feel good about the race tomorrow because I think we had a good first practice session yesterday. We had a tire problem in the second practice, but that has been fixed now and feels much better, so I definitely think the car is going to be good for the race tomorrow."
-source: juncos racing