After a mechanical problem forced him to settle for seventh in the Firestone Indy Lights season-opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, Carlos Munoz responded today with an emphatic, wire-to-wire victory from pole position in the Legacy Indy Lights 100 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Munoz, who now has three career wins in Indy Lights, quickly pulled away from his pursuers and eventually took the No. 26 Andretti Autosport machine to a five-second win over St. Pete winner Jack Hawksworth of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Hawksworth’s teammate, Gabby Chaves, completed the podium.
Now the Colombian’s focus will shift to passing Thursday’s Rookie Orientation Program for the upcoming Indianapolis 500. Munoz is driving a fifth Andretti car for the “500” — his first race in the IZOD IndyCar Series — and is one of four rookies (A.J. Allmendinger, Tristan Vautier and Conor Daly) that are slated to take part in ROP exercises this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Everyone was asking me, ‘Are you excited about [ROP]?,’ and I said, ‘No, not really — right now, I’m at Barber and I’m thinking about Barber, I’m not thinking about [the] IndyCar’,” Munoz told NBC Sports Network in Victory Lane. “Now, I want to put my head toward the IndyCar for this Thursday, and to do a good job there.”