INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday afternoon, Andretti Autosport announced that for a second straight season that they will feature six cars for the prestigious Indianapolis 500. Last year, it worked to perfection with Takuma Sato taking the checkered flag first. It was the second straight ‘500 victory for the organization and third in the last four years.
This time, it’s not Fernando Alonso in the sixth car, it’s Carlos Munoz. While that won’t necessarily move the needle like “Alonso Mania” did last year, it’s one that should provide an even better option for Andretti to win at Indy next May.
Alonso, showed just how talented he really is in at Indy in 2017 when even without any oval experience, he was fast out of the gates. He qualified in the second row and was in the hunt to win the actual race itself. I don’t think many people actually really thought he’d be that much of a contender to win.
Munoz on the other hand, well he’s almost a sure bet to contend. It’s a farce that he doesn’t have a full-time Verizon IndyCar Series ride for 2018, but he did get his wish and that’s to compete at Indy instead. If he was going to be with a team with a chance of winning, Andretti is it. In fact, if not for some bad timing, Munoz could easily have won at least two Indy 500’s already.
Out of 11 career top five finishes, three of which have come in the Indy 500 alone. He made his first ever INDYCAR start in the 2013 race. He quietly started second and finished there, leading 12 laps in the process. In 2014, Munoz would start seventh and finish fourth. In 2015, Honda had a big power disadvantage as he’d start 11th and finish 20th. He led three laps and if not for pitting late in the race, he could have secured another top 10 finish. Instead, he was off sequence. In 2016, Munoz lost on a fuel saving battle as he came home second again, this time to his teammate Alexander Rossi who stretched his fuel 35 laps. He was the only one to make it that far. If the race was the Indy 501, Munoz would have won. Last year, he ran for an AJ Foyt Racing team who just changed to Chevrolet power four months prior. They didn’t have the knowledge of Chevy yet to really compete and Chevy had the aero disadvantage too. Despite that, Munoz still brought his car home 10th.
Now, he’s back with Honda and Andretti with an opportunity to join immorality. It’s going to be like 2013 for him all over again and we saw what he did that year. This time though, he has way more experience and five teammates to bounce ideas off of.
Munoz coming back for a one-off with Andretti is the best move he could make. He could very easily win this race.