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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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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.