Andretti Autosport gets big break, earns 1-2 in first Detroit Dual race


The monkey’s off Andretti Autosport’s collective back.

A monkey named “First Win” has been removed from the back of Carlos Munoz and team owner Michael Andretti, who watched the former earn his first Verizon IndyCar Series win in 28 attempts and his team’s first win of 2015 while Marco Andretti finished second.

The Colombian driver was in first when the rains returned to the first race of Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at the Raceway on Belle Isle.

But for Munoz, 23, the only word he could find to describe the moment was “OK.”

“(I) wanted to win 100 percent,” Munoz told ABC of the race that went 47 laps instead of 70. “But I feel really happy for my crew. Racing is racing. This is what happens.”

Munoz had started 20th, the deepest Andretti car in the field. Through a series of pit strategy decisions, Munoz took the lead from teammate Marco Andretti on Lap 40. After pitting two laps later, he still had the lead and Andretti was second.

“We knew before the race it would be a really hard race,” Munoz said. “I was lucky. This time God was with me.”

For Michael Andretti, it means he doesn’t have to wonder if any of his cars will win in 2015. Prior to Saturday, through six races, only Simona de Silvestro’s fourth place at NOLA and Ryan Hunter-Reay’s fifth at Barber were their only top-five finishes.

Its last win was with Ryan Hunter-Reay at Iowa last July.

“(It) feels really good. (We’ve had) hard times,” Michael Andretti said. “We’ve got the monkey off our back. We’re pushing hard, Honda’s pushing hard.”

Also pushing hard was his son Marco, who started calling the shots when it came to whether or not to pit early in the race, which put him in the lead for more than 15 laps. Marco is still looking for his first win since 2011, which was also at Iowa.

“Seemed like a no-brainer so long as I could keep it off the fence, which we did,” Marco Andretti said. “We needed to get some fuel. I knew whoever would stay out would beat me. I’m trying to get Snapple a win so bad.”

Said Michael: “(Marco) wanted to stay out. Or come in for slicks. I’m like ‘screw it we’re staying out.’ He knows what it’s like out there. In the end, that helped Carlos, because he came in later. In the end that was the difference. It came out right. Now we get to do it all over again tomorrow.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”