MotorSportsTalk continues its run-through of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series field. Finishing P8 was the Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year, Andretti-HVM’s Carlos Munoz.
- Team: Andretti Autosport-HVM
- 2013: 28th Place (3 races), Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 2nd, 1 Podium, 1 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 12 Laps Led, 12.0 Avg. Start, 11.4 Avg. Finish
- 2014: 8th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 3rd, 3 Podiums, 5 Top-5, 8 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 10.5 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish
Sometimes there’s one driver in the championship standings who finishes way better than his or her results would indicate, and to be honest, Carlos Munoz ended probably about three or four spots better than his overall performance would have suggested he’d rank. That said, eighth as a rookie in this field was no small accomplishment, and the Colombian was a deserving Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year.
Here’s the reasoning: Munoz picked his spots well for his best finishes. With results of fourth, third and eighth in the three 500-mile, double-point races, Munoz accumulated 217 of his 483 points – nearly half – in just those three races. The other 15 races, Munoz scored only 266 points, which was 18th best in the field. Munoz took opportune podiums at Long Beach and Houston race one, although both owed more to luck than outright pace.
Munoz’s aggressive streak got the better of him early in the season, when he made a snap turn left in an attempt to avoid stalled polesitter Sebastian Saavedra at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and he had four other failures to finish throughout the year. But the kid was cleaner than expected overall and still had his fair share of dynamic moments. His qualifying needs to improve and he must become more consistent, but he’s laid the groundwork for a solid, successful IndyCar career.