Munoz gets tow to the top of Indy 500 practice

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Andretti Autosport rookie Carlos Munoz’s tow-assisted lap of 223.023 miles per hour was enough to lead the second day of practice for the 97th Indianapolis 500.

Munoz led an Andretti charge that saw all but one of their drivers inside the top five on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ryan Hunter-Reay was second-quickest at 222.825 mph, followed by E.J. Viso in third (222.523) and Marco Andretti in fourth (222.485). Another rookie, Team Penske’s A.J. Allmendinger, was fifth-fastest (221.279).

In addition to leading the charts, Munoz had the first near-miss of the month when he almost collided with Marco Andretti in Turn 1. The Colombian was forced to avoid Andretti by sticking the left-side tires of his No. 26 Chevrolet in the grass.

With a scare attained — and thankfully, nothing else — Munoz called the matter a “misunderstanding” afterwards.

“Inside the turn, I went into the dirt; it was close,” said Munoz, who notched the third-quickest time on Saturday after passing his Rookie Orientation Program. “In the race, I’m going to have those situations. I had two tires in the grass, so I was lucky to continue. After that, I was more comfortable behind the guys.”

Hunter-Reay, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion, considered Sunday a day to get back into a rhythm with the Brickyard.

“This place is so special for so many reasons,” the American said. “It really drives like no other racetrack. It was good to get back in it, shake a little rust off at Indy and get ready for the week.”

730 laps were turned by 23 drivers this afternoon at IMS despite cool and gusty weather that made the notoriously tricky 2.5-mile oval even trickier. The weather team at Indianapolis’ NBC affiliate, WTHR-13, is forecasting temperatures in the low 60s for tomorrow, but more ideal conditions should arrive mid-week for the drivers and teams as highs soar into the 80s.

On tap for tomorrow: More practice, the expected arrival of A.J. Foyt Racing rookie Conor Daly for his own ROP session, and a scheduled “refresher test” for Dale Coyne Racing’s third driver this month, Pippa Mann.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”