Carlin and Juncos, the Ball is in Your Court

With almost every other team in the IndyCar Series having a confirmed plans for the 2019 season, Carlin and Juncos have yet to announce their intentions, and haven't given anyone a clue as to what they are going to do

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Carlin and Juncos, the Ball is in Your Court
Fuente imagen: IndyCar

The 2019 IndyCar Series season is just around the corner, and almost every team has announced or atleast teased their intentions for this year. Two teams in particular however, haven't given us anything in regards to their plans. Carlin and Juncos Racing were both brand new to the IndyCar Series last season, each struggling throughout the year without showing all that much improvement from St. Pete to Sonoma. What will they do next season? Only thing we know is that British driver Max Chilton will be at Carlin, but other than that, things have been quiet.

Let's start with Carlin. Last season, they ran two full time cars with Max Chilton in the #59 and American driver Charlie Kimball in the #23, although looking promising at the beginning of the year with two former Chip Ganassi Racing drivers, they struggled throughout the season failing to post consistent top tens and seemed to be a step behind the rest of the competition. Granted 2018 was their first year as a full time IndyCar team, but their results hardly lived up to the hype. 

Max Chilton has been unofficially "confirmed" to return to the team for the upcoming season, although that was without an official announcement from the team. Chilton's father, Grahame Chilton, is still a major contributor in terms of sponsorship for Carlin so his return, although unconfirmed, seems more than likely to happen. Charlie Kimball on the other hand, has been rumoured to only have half a season's budget for 2019, however he could end up full time if Trevor Carlin and the team have enough to back him. Chilton and Kimball returning to the same lineup for 2019 would probably be in the best interest of the team, but at the moment that plan has yet to come to fruition. 

There are other possibilities than Charlie Kimball for Carlin however, with RC Enerson testing in a private test at the Circuit of the Americas in a car numbered #31, which is different than what both Chilton and Kimball ran last season. Could Carlin run up to three cars at select races? It sure seems like that is possible, although not very probable at the moment. What does seem probable though, is the possibility of running two full time cars with a ride share of the #23 and running a third at Indianapolis for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. That seems the most probable, but in this day and age, who knows what will happen.

The second team we have yet to hear anything about is Juncos Racing. Now, Juncos had a very interesting first part time season in 2018. Switching between three drivers: Kyle Kaiser, Rene Binder, and Alfonso Celis Jr. This year seems to indicate more of the same, however with running two cars at the Indy 500 instead of one. Ridesharing still seems to be the most likely option for this team in 2019, and with their desire to do the whole schedule and the lack of drivers bringing the budget they need, multiple drivers is indeed the best option for the team, but who will they be?

While ridesharing to do the entire 2019 schedule seems to be the plan for Juncos, they would more than likely be better off doing the same thing that they did last season with their added commitment to a Cadillac Daytona Prototype in the IMSA sports car series. Doing a part time schedule would help with the stress of the team and would also help them adjust to the very busy year the team is about to have. While Kaiser, Binder and Celis all three ran races with the team, it seems unlikely that Binder and Celis will return to the team for 2019. With Celis reportedly not looking for a ride as well as Binder, only Kyle Kaiser seems to be in the frame for a seat this year, making their plan to run a lot of races for 2019 look hard to accomplish. But two cars at Indy...that seems like a given.

Ricardo Juncos, the owner of this race team, has been open about his goal to atleast run two cars at the Indianapolis 500 in May, but is looking for pay drivers who bring lots of sponsorship. At the moment there only seems to be one driver who has been reported, and that is Kyle Kaiser. However, there is a driver who has reportedly brought a budget who has raced with Juncos in the 500 before, and that is Sebastian Saavedra, who plans to announce an Indy 500 program within the next two months, and Juncos seems to be the most likely option for him. 

Juncos' DPi IMSA team for Daytona is also where some drivers could come from, with Kaiser and Binder already being mentioned, there are promising young prospects in Will Owen, who ran Indy Lights with Juncos, and Argentine racing driver Agustin Canapino who has turned a lot of heads with his pace in the Daytona Prototype at the Roar before the 24 test at Daytona International Speedway. If either of those drivers bring funding, they could be in place to run the Indy 500 or a handful of races for the 2019 IndyCar season.

So, Carlin and Juncos Racing. The ball is in your court, with all of the other driver lineups set. The last pieces of a puzzle for this year's season must be confirmed and in place with St. Petersburg drawing near.

The 2019 IndyCar season begins at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 10th and is viewable on the NBC family of networks.

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