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SPM taps Munoz to sub for Wickens at Portland, Sonoma

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Carloz Munoz will pilot the No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in this weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland (September 2, 2:30 p.m. on NBCSN) and the season-ending INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma as a substitute for the injured Robert Wickens.

Munoz has one previous start in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season – at the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport, where he finished seventh – but this weekend’s event in Portland will be his first road course race since last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, meaning he has not yet raced the 2018 aero kit in road course trim.

However, with Thursday serving as a test day for the IndyCar teams, Munoz will have a chance to get himself up to speed with the 2018 aero kit and learn the 1.967-mile, 12-turn track.

“Robert and his family have been in my prayers and I continue to pray for his recovery,” said a gracious Munoz. “I’m very grateful that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have entrusted me to compete in the Lucas Oil Honda for the last two races of the season. I am looking forward to pushing hard for a great result for the team and for Robert.”

 

Munoz was previously a full-time IndyCar competitor for four seasons (2014-2016 with Andretti Autosport, and 2017 with A.J. Foyt Racing). However, after parting ways with Foyt, Munoz was only able to put together an Indy-only deal with Andretti Autosport for the 2018 season.

This is also not the first time Munoz has served in a replacement role. In 2013, while still racing full-time in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship, Munoz was enlisted to sub for then Panther Racing driver Ryan Briscoe at the Honda Indy Toronto – he competed in Race 2 of that year’s double header.

Later that year, Andretti Autosport drafted him in to race in the season finale at Auto Club Speedway, subbing for E.J. Viso. He also made his IndyCar debut with Andretti that year, finishing second at the Indy 500.

Munoz has one career IndyCar win, in Race 1 of the 2015 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Robert Wickens continues to receive treatment for injuries to his spine, right arm, and lower extremities, suffered in a violent crash at the ABC Supply 500. The most recent update, which came shortly before last weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500, revealed that he is breathing without assistance and was able to speak with his family.

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Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 Shootout

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Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.

With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.

“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.

The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.

“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.

That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”