Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport appears to be setting the bar early for the Firestone Indy Lights contingent.
The Colombian racer, who enters his second season in Lights and will also attempt to get a fifth Andretti Autosport machine into the Indianapolis 500, had a great two days of testing at Sebring International Raceway this week. On Thursday, he threw down the fastest lap of the day with a time of 56.1486 seconds, and on Friday, he topped the afternoon session with a lap of 55.821 seconds.
“I don’t see myself as the guy to beat at St. Pete or for the championship,” Munoz told IndyCar.com. “I just want to do my work as best as I can – my work with my engineer, my physical preparation and my mental preparation. If I do that well, the results will come.”
Munoz finished fifth in the Lights standings last season, with victories at Edmonton and in the season-finale at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.).
The Lights paddock will now head to Barber Motorsports Park for one more test session on Monday before making final preparations for their March 23 season opener in the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. NBC Sports Network will broadcast the race on March 24 at 11 a.m. ET before the IZOD IndyCar Series hits the airwaves at Noon ET with live coverage of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.