Florida based Juncos Racing completed the first event of the 2008 Florida Winter Tour with nine drivers seeing action for the team over two race weekends. Six were in action a week ago as the 'CIK' classes took to the track, and the Juncos season...
Florida based Juncos Racing completed the first event of the 2008 Florida Winter Tour with nine drivers seeing action for the team over two race weekends. Six were in action a week ago as the 'CIK' classes took to the track, and the Juncos season began one week earlier when four racers from three countries were on track in Rotax. When all was said and done, the team had four top ten finishes, highlighted by a podium run by Jack West in Rotax Mini-Max.
Ten-year-old West was never outside the top six from start to finish and confirmed to all he is a definite podium threat every time he takes to the track. After qualifying sixth of twenty-nine on Saturday, he moved up to fourth on the first lap of the prefinal and ran the full race distance there. On track for the main event he suffered being on the outside line and fell to sixth, but quickly worked back to fifth and by lap eight he was in fourth, the position he crossed the line in. Sunday began much the same with P6 in qualifying, but once again the outside line fell at the beginning of the prefinal and the youngster from Sarasota fell to seventh. By the time the checker waved, he was back to fourth for the second straight day. This time in the main he held the spot at the drop of the green and took third later in the lap. He then maintained the position for the full Mini-Max run to take the final podium spot. The runs to fourth and third netted West 165 points, and he is second in the championship headed to the second round.
Toronto's Devlin De Francesco scored the only other Rotax top-ten at Homestead when he crossed tenth on Sunday in Micro-Max. Racing internationally for the first time at Homestead, the seven-year-old hovered around tenth all weekend. On Sunday De Francesco timed 11th, was crashed out of the prefinal but came storming back in the main and picked up ten spots to reach the top ten. Teammate Max Preston could relate to the crashing, as he was plagued by contact all weekend in Rotax Junior. It all led to the B-Main each day, but the fourteen-year-old Canadian ended the weekend on the right note when he ran from 20th on the grid to fifth in his last track session. Brazilian Paulo Grassi was also thumped around in Rotax Senior, but showed promising signs for the future. He qualified ninth on Saturday and on Sunday morning he qualified an impressive third! Among the quickest seniors in the paddock at Homestead, it was obviously not to be as Grassi completed just four laps in the prefinal and just 13 in the main.
At the second weekend of Event 1 Juncos had six racers under the tent as De Francesco returned along with Bijon Spinazzola, Scott Nagel, and the three Furfari brothers: Michael, Anthony and Joey Jr. While the team had more drivers, they were spread across fewer classes as a trio raced in each of Cadet and JICA. Nagel scored the only top ten run when he finished ninth on Saturday. The eleven-year-old from Brampton, Ontario, qualified tenth in the wet and kept the spot as the track dried out in the prefinal. In the main, he advanced one position. Furfari Jr. was also moving forward all weekend in Cadet. On Saturday he was involved in a turn one crash in the main, but Sunday the ten-year-old went the distance and crossed 13th. De Francesco was once again a class rookie and continued to improve. After qualifying at 57.8 on Saturday he layed down identical 57.2's in the prefinal and final, reaching a high of 15th.
While Anthony is a JICA rookie, Michael Furfari and Spinazzola are expected to be at the front of the class and began there as the pair qualified on the fourth row Saturday. They then ran to ninth and tenth in the prefinal before a disastrous main. Michael was up to fourth on the opening lap when he was taken out and retired while Spinazzola retired himself from 11th on lap seven. Bijon was right back at the front come Sunday when he qualified sixth in the wet but turn one saw him go to the back and finish in 22nd. On a dry track by the time the final rolled around, the Florida racer then recovered to 13th. Michael also worked forward as the track dried out as after qualifying 25th he was 15th in the prefinal and 11th in the main. Younger brother Anthony reached a high finish of 14th on Sunday when he crossed right behind teammate Spinazzola.
Juncos Racing will resume the Florida Winter Tour in two weeks at Moroso Motorsport Park when Event Two begins.