Muñoz wins rain-shortened first race in 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 Muñoz at Detroit race one.
Neither was predicted; both are now race winners.
The crucial portion of the race came once Muñoz’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Marco Andretti, and Muñoz 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.
Muñoz, who started 20th in the 23-car field, took the lead on Lap 40 after Andretti pitted for rain tires when leading.
Muñoz 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 Muñoz 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.