Juncos Racing’s Garett Grist picked up his first two podiums in the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship this past weekend in Rounds 3 and 4 of the Mazda North American Operations Presents the Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Alabama. Teammate Will Owen took home a Top-5 finish in Round 4 at Barber Motorsports Park.
The second weekend of the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship kicked off with a Promoter Test followed by two practice sessions on the 2.3 mile, 17- Turn road course. Canadian Garett Grist finished third overall in the test sessions while teammates Will Owen and Nicolas Dapero took the second and third fastest times in the first practice session.
Grist carried the strong momentum behind the wheel of the #5 Lander Property Management car into qualifying, narrowly missing the pole to start on the outside for Round 3. Owen qualified fifth, Nicolas Dapero took the eighth starting position followed by Jake Parsons in ninth.
Grist went on to pick up his first podium the following day in the 40-minute race, claiming third in Round 3 and delivering Juncos Racing their first podium finish of the season. Owen picked up a Top-5 in the #23 AMR car, taking fifth. Argentinean Dapero earned his best finish since joining the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series, finishing seventh in the #31 Federal Seguros car. Jake Parsons finished 13 laps down after contact midway through the race forced him to end his day early.
Round 4 mirrored the previous day for Grist, who would once again earn a third place finish moving him into the third spot in the Pro Mazda Championship standings. Owen finished just behind taking his best finish of the season in fourth, while Dapero again took home seventh for the second time this weekend. Parsons unfortunately faced the same fate as in Round 3, when both Parsons in the #00 Smart Minds Institute car and the #81 of Weiron Tan made contact approaching Turn-5, ending the day on the first lap.
Team Principle, Ricardo Juncos was pleased to see Grist pick up his first two podiums of the season, along with Owen and Dapero earning their best finishes of the season.
“Overall we had a good weekend at Barber,” said Juncos. “We were so close to collecting our first pole of the season with Garett (Grist). He (Grist) had two great races, putting our Juncos Racing car on the podium twice. Will (Owen) had an amazing pass in Round 4 and has shown a lot of growth since last season. Nico (Dapero) continues to improve and impress us, and I know he will continue to develop into the car as the season progresses. Jake (Parsons) faced a tough weekend, but I know he will be back stronger at the next event. I am looking forward to May with both road course races and the oval later in the month, where I am confident we will be back on the podium.”
Nicolas Dapero (Buenos Aires, Argentina):” It was a positive weekend for me! We were able to finished both races and make pace much stronger! I learned a lot while starting both races at the back. Every race I’m getting more experience and that’s what I’m looking for. We will keep working to be faster next time but I think we will definitely be. I want to thank all the team for the great work they have done!”
Garett Grist (Grimsby, Ontario, Canada): “Overall it was a good weekend for us in Alabama. Always good to get two podiums. Obviously still a lot of work to be done though. The guys will be working hard at the shop. Thanks to Lander Property Management and Mac Tools.”
Will Owen (Castle Rock, Colorado, USA): “Round 4 was not a bad race for us at Barber. I started fifth and finished fourth. I made one of the only passes the entire race in a really difficult spot. I will remember that pass for a long time and will think back to that when I need motivation. The race was pretty tough as the track was very low grip. Everybody had the same situation and the same struggles. We are happy with our results, and I am looking forward to the next event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Jake Parsons (Melbourne, Australia): “It was a challenging weekend. Things did not go our way, but we will keep pushing!”
The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires continues with Rounds 6 and 7 of the Indianapolis Grand Prix on the 2.43 mile road course located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For more information please visit juncosracing.com and promazdachampionship.com