When everything shook itself out with the wreck in turn four, Carlos Munoz had put himself in position to score a solid finish. Munoz drove hard the final 10 laps, crossing the finish line in third spot. For the young rookie, it marks his second IndyCar podium finish in five career starts and first of the season.
“It went pretty well. It’s not the way I’d like to earn my third place with so many accidents, but this is racing,” Munoz commented post-race. “Anything can happen, especially on this track, especially in INDYCAR, anything can happen. But I’m really happy. It was a really nice race.”
Munoz qualified 11th in Saturday’s qualifying session, though was able to get a good launch on the standing start and gain some positions.
” We were thinking to go on blacks or reds, my new blacks I thought was going to be too much wheel spin so I decided to go on reds because of that,” Munoz commented. “It was a great start. I like it. I raced in Europe for a long time, so I’m used to it. I thought it was great.”
Running just inside the top 10, Munoz admitted to struggling the first part of the race in getting the rear-end of the car to grip the track.
“After that my guys, my crew guys did an awesome job on the pit stops and everything,” Munoz said. “I just pushed pretty hard on the last two laps to try to overtake Will, but it was really difficult. Even though I had some push to pass. But I’m happy, second podium in INDYCAR, and first podium this year. So I’m going to keep pushing.”
Munoz has been successful at Long Beach in the past, picking up the win last year in the Firestone Indy Lights division. Munoz says that experience helped him as he knew the lines that he had to take since they’re the same for both. The challenge was learning how to drive it as the cars and tires are completely different.
“Indy Lights just spring race to push the whole race. This one you have to think a little bit more of the tires and everything,” Munoz commented. “I knew my first time and my team said, ‘You have to be brave and to try to maintain the position,’ and that’s what I did. After that, I passed really good at the end of the laps. I love this track here. From the inside and outside and the fans here also.”