Editor’s Note: This is the second day of a four-day series of 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES team previews. Today’s rollout will feature Andretti Autosport at 10 a.m. (ET) and Juncos Hollinger Racing at 2 p.m. Visit INDYCAR.com often today through Saturday to get the lowdown on every team and driver! Click here for Wednesday’s previews.
JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING
Starting Lineup: Callum Ilott (No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet).
2021 in Review: The team, with new co-ownership from businessman Brad Hollinger, made its season debut at the Grand Prix of Portland on Sept. 12. Ilott finished 25th in the first of his three races to end the season. He finished 22nd in the Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and 26th, after qualifying a personal-best 18th, in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
New for ’22: The team located in Speedway, Indiana, has undergone a rebranding, with the familiar orange dropped in favor of a black, green and white combination. The staff has received a makeover, too, with several new crew members, including engineer Steve Barker, who most recently worked with Carlin.
Keep an Eye on This: Christian Lundgaard is the closest thing Ilott has to a rival in INDYCAR. The European drivers competed against each other in 2020 in the FIA’s F2 championship. Ilott won three races and earned five poles while finishing second in the standings to Mick Schumacher. Lundgaard won one race and finished seventh in points.
Little-Known Fact: During his karting days, Ilott was considered one of the standouts of his generation.
Defy Everything: Ilott has a unique perspective on motorsports. “Physically, it’s one of the most demanding things possible, (but) it’s a story of life,” he said. “You get hit, you get knocked down and you have to get back up. I think you have to be quite crazy to do it, (but) it’s quite cool to watch.”
Starting Lineup: Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian), Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda), Romain Grosjean (No. 28 DHL Honda), Devlin DeFrancesco (No. 29 PowerTap Hydrogen Honda of Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport).
2021 in Review: Herta led the way with three race wins and three poles, and he led a series-high eight races with 391 laps led (the latter second only to Scott Dixon’s 401). Herta, who won the season’s final two races, finished fifth in the standings with Rossi 10th, Ryan Hunter-Reay 17th and James Hinchcliffe 20th. Rossi ended the season with a pair of top-six finishes in the final three races. The team was at its strongest in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Three of its five cars started in the top 10, with Herta starting in the middle of the front row. Herta led the opening lap as part of his 13 laps led in the race.
New for ’22: Grosjean steps into the No. 28 entry, DeFrancesco into the No. 29. The addition of Grosjean and engineer Olivier Boisson brings significant intrigue, the pair having won an NTT P1 Award and delivered three podium finishes last year for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR. Grosjean will compete on all the oval tracks this season. DeFrancesco posted nine top-five finishes in 20 races last year in Indy Lights.
Keep an Eye on This: Three of the team’s four full-time drivers have not won the “500,” but there’s a reasonably good chance that one of them eventually does. Michael Andretti’s organization has won Indy five times since 2005 with five different drivers. Only Team Penske has done that in that span.
Little-Known Fact: Rossi prides himself on being excellent at cleaning swimming pools. “Weekly maintenance, chemicals, all of it,” he said. “I’m part of TroubleFreePools.com forum.” The winner of the 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge even helps with the pool of Tony Kanaan, the “500’s” winner in 2013, who also lives in Indianapolis.
Defy Everything: Grosjean will race this season with the strongest his left hand has been since his fiery Formula One crash in Bahrain in November 2020 thanks to recovery from two recent surgeries. “The first (surgery) was about four hours and the second one was an hour and a half,” he said. “It was a little bit heavier (of a surgical process) than I thought it was going to be, but definitely we made things much better (to) live much more normally than I used to before.”