As we do Business My Way, Yuhs Hear Callum!
Yep, another No Fenders story late to thee
Party. But I didn’t want to give Y’all indigestion over Turkey Lurkey weekend,
First ‘n foremost, suppose I should remind
myself that IndyCar, and Motor Racing in General is a Business First. Which I
have a tendency to forget since it’s simply Entertainment for Mwah…
I’ve been a Fan of Juncos Hollinger Racing ever
since it was simply Juncos Racing when Kyle Kiser, remember Him Y’all? Did the
unthinkable and Bumped that Smarmy Spaniard Frederico Suave’, aka Fernando
Alonso from the 2019 Indianapolis 500!
Not to mention having been impressed with
Riccardo Juncos “Rags to Riches” success as an IndyCar team owner, overcoming
the massive financial Hurdles to do so! Especially starting with nothing.
I’ll also admit that I only knew Callum Ilott’s
name from perusing the FIA Formula 2 Championship roster, and really knew very
little otherwise about Him until His IndyCar debut at the end of the 2021
IndyCar season. When Juncos Racing became Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) with it’s
2021 IndyCar reboot as a single car entity for the season’s final three West
I suppose it’s only natural to root for
Underdogs, since obviously we expect Penske, Ganassi, Andretti and Gasp, McLaren
to regularly be in the Winner’s circle. And thus I enjoy rootin’ for drivers
and teams that punch above their perceived weight instead.
Not sure what it was, but I saw great promise
in Callam Ilott during this West Coast swing, even if He was still totally
unknown to Mwah. As the plucky Englishman quickly rose to be my Numero Tres
IndyCar Driver during JHR’s first full season in 2022, when still a single car
The team impressed me even more at the beginning
of this season with the totally unknown Argentinian Augustin Canapino as it’s
second driver, who’d never driven an Open wheel Racing single seater before!
Not to mention needing to learn English. Which I’ve said before is my Rookie Of
the Year (ROY) for Mwah. Even if the Kiwi’ I’m Hip upon Marcus Armstrong won
the IndyCar Rookie Of the Year Championship instead.
But where it All went wrong for Mwah with JHR obviously
began this past April when Callum Ilott received Death Threats for tangling
with rookie teammate Canapino at Long Beach.
And if you want the unvarnished version of
Marshall Pruett’s excellent, if long winded recap of what ultimately led to
Ilott’s Firing from JHR. Then Y’all should listen to the start of His October
31st MP1452: The Week in IndyCar Podcast!
As Marshall notes how not only did JHR do
nothing to defend Ilott over Canapino’s Fans Attacking Him! But then totally
let Callum down during the same month’s Indianapolis Open tes, with a wickedly ill
The team told Ilott there was nothing wrong
with His chassis during the opening few days of Indy 500 practice, even though
Ilott remained glued to the bottom of the Time Sheets, before a “Come to Jesus”
meeting was held and the team finally relented and prepared a new racecar for
Long story short, Ilott not only locked Himself
into the field on Saturday, but finished a remarkable 12th during the race.
And then as we All know, there was a second
ugly social media event following the Laguna Seca season finale. Where once
again, some faction of Canapino Fans attacked Ilott, for which I’ve previously
scribbled ‘bout here upon No Fenders.
Sadly mentioning how I feared Ilott was being
Hung Out to Dry! With JHR holding firm to it’s December option to retain the
Englishman for the 2024 IndyCar season, which we All know didn’t happen.
As what rubs me wrong about this whole outcome
is how Juncos naturally sided with fellow Argentine driver Canapino, with both
making multiple harsh comments towards Ilott, in what quickly became a toxic work
Whilst the funniest part of JHR hiring Romain
Grosjean, who basically had a total implosion this season at Andretti Auto, Err
Global. Is the fact they just hired a driver who’s filed for Arbitration
against His Team Owner to be their newest driver!
As I fear that Ilott’s been summarily Hosed by
JHR and Riccardo Juncos! And I’ll miss Him giving chase in midfield or inferior
machinery next season. Since the 25yr old Englishman should totally be on the
IndyCar Frid next year!
As you could say this is a business decision,
with JHR’s new “Strategic” partnership with Arrow McLaren. Since obviously
Grosjean and the No. 77 will be sporting All of Arrow McLaren’s overflow
sponsors, with JHR needing the cash!
As I’d love to see Ilott get Andretti’s fourth
vacated IndyCar seat, a satellite Foyt ride or one of Coyne’s two drives next
year. But All of those require a Mega Budget, which Ilott doesn’t have.
As Ilott’s best moves would to run Sports Cars
next year for either Penske or United Autosport, and then either replace Will
Power or fill Arrow McLaren’s intended fourth IndyCar seat in the future…
refrain from pointing out All of the obvious faults of Grosjean. Who I’ve considered
to be a Hot Head since His Haas Formula 1 days…
Since All I want to know, is what is the Over/Under on Grosjean and JHR having a meltdown in 2024? And how many races will it be before Grosjean and Canapino Clash with each other on-track?