Munoz wins rain-shortened first race in Detroit

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DETROIT – In the first race of a doubleheader where rain is stopping the race short of its scheduled distance, bet on Colombians named Carlos who have no career wins.

Last year, it was Carlos Huertas at Houston race one. Today, it was Carlos Munoz at Detroit race one.

Neither was predicted; both are now race winners.

The crucial portion of the race came once Munoz’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Marco Andretti, and Munoz both ran longer on dry slick tires – gapping the field by roughly eight to 10 seconds per lap on the low end – which allowed them both enough time to make their stops without losing the lead.

Meanwhile most of the rest of the field pitted to switch to rain tires, and that proved detrimental from an overall time standpoint.

Munoz, who started 20th in the 23-car field, took the lead on Lap 40 after Andretti pitted for rain tires when leading.

Munoz stopped himself two laps later but retained the lead.

On Lap 46, yellow was called for lightning, followed shortly thereafter by a red flag. Drivers were ordered out of their cars and the cars covered.

The race was called just before 5:30 p.m. ET, with Munoz leading Andretti and Simon Pagenaud; it’s the first podium of the year for all three drivers.

Will Power and Scott Dixon completed the top five. Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya finished 10th, and Power should close 13 points on the day.

The race, coincidentally, nearly mirrors the end result of the time-shortened race at NOLA Motorsports Park to a T.

At NOLA, 47 laps were completed and two Hondas were on the podium from the same team. It marked the first podium of the year for race winner James Hinchcliffe, his teammate James Jakes and runner-up Helio Castroneves.

Today, there were 47 laps completed, with a Honda team having two of the top three finishers and a Team Penske driver completing the podium.

RACE RESULTS

DETROIT – Results Saturday of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Race #1 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (20) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 47, Running
2. (9) Marco Andretti, Honda, 47, Running
3. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 47, Running
4. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 47, Running
5. (7) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 47, Running
6. (2) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 47, Running
7. (14) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 47, Running
8. (18) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 47, Running
9. (19) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 47, Contact
10. (3) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 46, Running
11. (4) Takuma Sato, Honda, 46, Running
12. (10) James Jakes, Honda, 46, Running
13. (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 46, Running
14. (6) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 46, Running
15. (8) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 46, Running
16. (12) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 46, Running
17. (11) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 46, Running
18. (23) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 46, Running
19. (21) Conor Daly, Honda, 46, Running
20. (15) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 33, Running
21. (22) Rodolfo Gonzalez, Honda, 25, Mechanical
22. (17) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 13, Contact
23. (13) Graham Rahal, Honda, 5, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 75.510 mph
Time of Race: 1:27:45.7906
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 6 for 18 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Power 1-2
Sato 3-14
Andretti 15 -33
Power 34 – 35
Andretti 36 – 39
Munoz 40 – 47

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Montoya 292, Power 281, Dixon 241, Castroneves 234, Rahal 211, Newgarden 197, Andretti 194, Pagenaud 177, Bourdais 177, Munoz 173.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.