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IndyCar 2023 season review: Juncos Hollinger Racing

The combination of Joey Barnes and Nick Degroot provide their respective thoughts in a team-by-team breakdown of the 2023 season in the IndyCar Series. This time, the duo look at Juncos Hollinger Racing.

Callum Ilott, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

#77 – Callum Ilott, 16th in championship standings (266 points) – 17 races

  • 0 wins, 0 podium, 2 top fives, 3 top 10s, 0 poles, 0 Fast Six Appearances
  • Best Finish: 5th (St. Petersburg, Laguna Seca)
  • Best Start: 8th (Portland)

#78 – Agustín Canapino, 21st in championship standings (180 points) – 17 races

  • 0 wins, 0 podiums, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 poles, 0 Fast Six Appearances
  • Best Finish: 12th (St. Petersburg, Texas, Toronto)
  • Best Start: 18th (Toronto* - qualified 13th at Laguna Seca but started 19th with grid penalties)

Joey Barnes: If you were to look back at Ilott’s rookie season in 2022 with JHR, there was hope of taking a big step in 2023. While there were some really strong positives at times, I think that potential was capped with the expansion of two full-time entries and a rookie in Canapino that was adjusting to open wheel racing. Usually, growing horizontally means sacrificing those vertical gains in the short term. That said, there was still a lot to be impressed by this past season.

Ilott bookended the year with a pair of career-best fifth-place finishes and scored one more top 10 (three) than his rookie campaign. He encountered more drama than needed at the Indianapolis 500, where he eventually swapped out the primary car for the backup to make the race and climb from 27th to a respectable 12th. Overall, it was progress but any hope of seeing how far that could have gone ended with the offseason change that saw Romain Grosjean signed and Ilott parting from the team and bound for the World Endurance Championship. Ilott could still be on the grid for select IndyCar rounds, but time will tell what that looks like.

With Canapino, the Argentine was impressive with a pair of 12th-place results on a street circuit and a fast oval. It was known there would be rookie woes, but he adapted way quicker than many expected. It can’t be overlooked that a potential podiums, or at the least a top five, was on the cards at Laguna Seca before unfortunate contact with Ilott. With Canapino returning for a second year in 2024, it’ll be interesting to see his and JHR’s progression.

Agustín Canapino, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Agustín Canapino, Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet

Nick Degroot: I'd say 2023 was a step in the right direction for Juncos. They scored two top-fives and Callum Ilott bettered his season-long average finish by two, while also placing four positions higher in the final standings. His fifth-place finish at the season-opener and season finale were highlights for the Juncos group.

Now, the arrival of Agustín Canapino certainly shook things up. The rookie driver's campaign was marred by run-ins with his team-mate, and social media abuse from some fans cast a shadow over the entire team.

Despite the drama, Juncos appears to be heading in the right direction performance-wise. Signing Romain Grosjean for 2024 will be a major help as they continue to find their footing at the top level of American open-wheel racing. I'll be interested to see if the pairing of Canapino and Grosjean goes smoother than the duo Canapino and Ilott.

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