With his Firestone Indy Lights commitments out of the way for the weekend, Carlos Munoz was available for a last-minute IZOD IndyCar Series cameo Sunday in Toronto. Munoz got the nod from Panther Racing to deputize for Ryan Briscoe, who broke his wrist in Saturday’s race and was knocked out of action.
The only issue going into Sunday? Munoz, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 rookie-of-the-year, had yet to sample a Dallara DW12 chassis on a road or street course. Ever.
“Yeah, I was really surprised because it was really late, and I don’t any experience in an Indy car on a road course. None in my life,” the 21-year-old Colombian said before the race. “I don’t even have my seat here from IndyCar, from the Indy 500. I was surprised. I talked to Michael (Andretti), I talked to my engineers, I talked to some other guys, and they said you have to take this chance. This is an opportunity to get more experience, more laps.”
Munoz got his first laps in in the morning warmup, and ran a smooth, consistent race all things considered. With nothing else to prove other than keeping it between the barriers, Munoz ran competitive lap times and brought the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet home in P17, one lap down.
“It was a long race and a hard race for me,” he said afterwards. “It was basically my first time in an IndyCar on a street course, and I didn’t know what to expect to be in a race here with so many cars out there. We continued to drop lap times and I got more and more comfortable with each lap, and by the end we put together quite a good lap, which are all positive things. It’s good work from the National Guard crew and my goal was to finish, and I finished, and I’m very happy to have this opportunity today.”