Canadian Zach Claman De Melo Earns Best Finish to Date
 June 26, 2016| 
  • Team News

Plymouth, Wis. – Juncos Racing rookie Zach Claman De Melo captured his best finish since joining the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series earlier this year for the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The young Canadian took fourth in Round 10 of the Mazda Indy Lights Grand Prix of Road America Presented by Cooper Tires this past weekend. 

The Indy Lights series returned to the 4.048 mile, 14-Turn road course located near the famous Elkhart Lake after a 25-year hiatus.  The weekend began with a one-hour long practice session, where Juncos Racing proved to show strong pace among the very competitive field. 

Qualifying later that day for Round 9 did not go as planned for American Kyle Kaiser (Santa Clara, California) settling with the seventh spot on the grid, while teammate Zach Claman De Melo (Montreal, Canada) took the 10th starting position. 

Round 9 proved to be one of rookie Claman De Melo’s most successful runs behind the wheel of the #13 ZCD Montreal/Seven of All Mankind car of the season, taking home a Top-5 finish in fifth and posting the fastest lap on track with only two laps to go. Kaiser finished just outside the Top-5 taking sixth. 

The following day saw a drastic difference in track conditions for Round 10, after a short rain delay would cause the entire field to start on rain tires.  Both Kaiser and Claman De Melo took the same starting positions as the previous day. The 50-minute timed race proved to be the most action packed event of the weekend, with multiple cars making contact throughout the race, causing a big shake up in the championship standings. 

The Juncos Racing duo narrowly avoided multiple incidents, brining both cars home to the checkered flag. Claman De Melo would once again prove to be one of the fastest cars on track, moving up six positions to finish an Indy Lights career best fourth. Kaiser, driving the #18 InterVision/NetApp/ JuniperNetworks car, finished sixth for the second time. 

Claman De Melo said “Overall I am pleased with the weekend. We started 10th in both races and managed fifth in the first race and fourth in the second race, which I think was my strongest result considering where we started. The team did a great job and we are making progress every race. I’m excited to show everyone what we can do the last half of the season.” 

“The weekend wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for,” said Kaiser. “Although we brought home two six place finishes and maintained our sport in the points, I felt like I was lacking some pace throughout the weekend. I have to thank the team for working hard each day to give me the best car possible. We’re excited to get back on the short oval in Iowa and will be vying to get back on the podium.” 

Team Principle Ricardo Juncos was pleased to Claman De Melo pick up his best finish of the season, along with earning the fastest lap during Round 9. 

“We learned a lot this weekend here at Road America,” said Juncos. “Zach (Claman De Melo) has shown great pace all season, and finally earned the fastest lap in a race. I am really pleased with his progress as we enter into the second half of the season and know he will continue to be successful. Even though Kyle (Kaiser) did not get the results we hoped for, he still remains in connection for the championship as the battle will be very tight the rest of the year. I want to thank the crew for all of their hard work, especially during all of the changing track conditions. We still have a lot of work to do for the remaining of the season, but I am confident we will be successful. ” 

About Juncos Racing:  Ricardo Juncos, a second generation driver, grew up with a deep passion for racing. Juncos made his first steps in the racing community driving karts throughout Argentina. After funding became difficult, Juncos worked for teams in order to support his own racing career. During this time Juncos took courses in mechanical and electrical engineering to fully understand racing on and off the track. Ricardo Juncos established Juncos Racing in 1997 as a formula team operating in Argentina. Six years later, Juncos Racing moved to Miami, Florida where they became a respected karting team recording multiple local, regional, and national titles. After a successful run in karts, Juncos Racing moved north to Indianapolis, Indiana the “racing capitol of the world,” in 2008 to join INDYCAR’s Mazda Road to Indy series. After only two years in the Star Mazda Championship, the team finished second in the 2010 championship while Conor Daly won the driver championship. Juncos Racing continued their run in the Pro Mazda Championship (the former Star Mazda) taking second in the 2012 and 2013 championships. Most recently 2014 proved to be one of the most successful years for Juncos Racing, winning the driver championship with Spencer Pigot and team championship in both the Cooper Tires Winterfest and Pro Mazda Championship. Juncos Racing expanded operations in 2015 to include two Indy Lights entries along with four Pro Mazda cars. Recently the team captured the driver Indy Lights Championship with Spencer Pigot, and took home their second consecutive team Pro Mazda Championship.

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