Both Harding Racing and Juncos Racing made their Verizon IndyCar Series debuts in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, and both have one eye on joining the series full time.
Harding Racing ran Gabby Chaves, and saw the young American claim an extremely credible ninth place, while Juncos Racing ran two cars for Sebastian Saavedra and Spencer Pigot, and saw both drivers have mixed results, although both saw the chequered flag.
“I think we did our job,” admitted Chaves. “We took the race one lap at a time. We let the track and the conditions come to us and we dialed in the No. 88 Harding Racing Chevrolet car every stop.
“We had a heck of a stint there. I think we were one of the only cars being able to make moves out there and got into a solid top ten for our first go as a team.”
Saavedra admitted that he achieved his mission by finishing on the lead lap in the #17 AFS-Chevrolet in thirteenth, and admitted he is excited to see what happens in the future for Juncos Racing.
“We accomplished the mission we started less than two months ago,” said Saavedra. “To finish this first Indy 500 with both cars intact is a victory of its own.
“I’m very proud of the whole organization for putting in such a professional effort. It was rough out there. We were not as competitive as we wanted, but hey, that’s something that is expected your first time out. So, kudos to the whole team.
“I want to thank the AFS/Juncos Racing guys for all the amazing pit stops and David Cripps for a great strategy. Altogether, I’m just looking forward to what’s being built here because the future is very bright for this team. I wish them and the whole organization the best.”
Pigot had a less successful race, finishing six laps down in eighteenth after early troubles, and he admitted that ever since his practice crash he had not been at ease with the #11 machine.
“Very long, frustrating race,” said Pigot. “I think there’s still something I’m missing or something’s gone away with the car since the (practice) crash.
“It never really felt right and it was just very difficult to drive, but we fought through a tough day. We didn’t give up. The guys kept working hard and I can’t thank them enough for the recovery and for putting this all together.”