After winning the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Championship, Kyle Kaiser will have the opportunity to run at least four Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2018 for Juncos Racing.
The Juncos Racing driver recently talked about the opportunity, while taking some time to reflect back on the title.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What does it mean to get a chance to run some Verizon IndyCar Series races?
KYLE KAISER: It’s a great privilege to have earned a spot in the highest level of open wheel racing in North America. It’s the one thing I’ve been working towards since I joined the Mazda Road to Indy and I’m ready to make the most of this opportunity.
POW: What are your goals entering the limited schedule?
KK: My goals for the few races we have are to learn as much as I can and display that I can be competitive while also making good decisions. I’m going to be realistic with my approach, being a rookie with a rookie team will definitely prove to be challenging. But I’m very confident in in the team and my own abilities to adapt quickly. I’d be very happy to see a constant improvement throughout the races I compete in and minimize the mistakes that could be made.
POW: Out of the events on your schedule currently, what event are you most looking forward to?
KK: I’d be crazy to say I’m not looking forward to the Indianapolis 500 the most. That race alone is so paramount and has so much history surrounding it that it’s become every drivers’ dreams to be a part of it.
POW: Is there a possibility to see more events added to your schedule?
KK: That is definitely a possibility, but at the moment it is only four races. The team and myself are working very hard to find additional funding the expand our 2018 schedule.
POW: What are your thoughts reflecting back on your Indy Lights Championship?
KK: It was an incredible year and made for some exciting racing! There were so many great young drivers and veterans that it was probably the most competitive year of Indy Lights I’ve competed in. In the end, staying out of trouble and being consistent was what brought us the championship.
POW: What’s the biggest thing you learned those previous seasons that helped you in 2017?
KK: In the first season in Indy Lights I showed the speed was there, but I struggled with my race craft and patience during races. I was being overly aggressive and not finishing nearly enough races to be in the championship fight. But we finished that first season with a podium and I felt ready to go heading into my second year. I started the second year off strong with 3 straight podiums and my first win in the third race, but the most of the remainder of the season I struggled during qualifying and made mistakes during some races that hurt my championship run again.
I felt like in my third season I put together the best of both worlds, I was more patient in the races and qualified much better on average. Down the stretch we had a big lead, so I focused more of finishing the races and bringing the championship home.
POW: What was the most memorable moment for you in 2017?
KK: I would say my most memorable moment from 2017 was the entire Toronto Grand Prix. It was such an incredible weekend by winning both races in what feels like a home race away from home. I had lots of family and supporters there, so having such great results in front of them was very special.
POW: You had the pair of 12ths at Mid-Ohio, though, leaving people wondering about how you would close out the year. Did that make you extra nervous or change the approach heading into Gateway and then Watkins Glen?
KK: I have always seemed to struggle at Mid-Ohio, so I personally wasn’t going to let my results from that weekend effect me heading to a different track. We came to Gateway knowing that was the race we could lock it up, so we came in aggressive and finished where we needed to in order to lock up the championship before Watkins Glen.
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