May 10, 2013, 11:24 PM EDT
Carlos Munoz may not have the biggest name out of this year’s crop of Indianapolis 500 rookies, but that hasn’t dampened his confidence as he prepares to embark on his first “month of May” experience. The Colombian will attempt to make the field in a fifth Chevrolet-powered Andretti Autosport car (the No. 26, backed by Unistraw) and he gets started this weekend with the Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Munoz, who is also the current points leader in Firestone Indy Lights and will compete in that series’ Freedom 100 at IMS on May 24, tested back in March at Texas Motor Speedway to get acclimated to high-speed ovals. He believes that the test session will prove useful for him.
“[At Texas], it was a really competitive car and that helped my confidence a lot,” he told IndyCar.com. “For sure, Indianapolis will be much different from everything. It’s a long race, so it’s good to have the rookie orientation. Also, I will begin step by step as I did in Texas and gain all the information I can.”
Compared to his fellow rookies — A.J. Allmendinger of Team Penske, Tristan Vautier of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and Conor Daly of A.J. Foyt Racing — Munoz would appear to have the least amount of star power. However, he has a wealth of veteran resources to guide him along. Team owner Michael Andretti, strategist John Tzouanakis, and the four regular Andretti Autosport drivers (Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti and E.J. Viso) all certainly know a few things about the Brickyard.
There’s also something equally important that is steering Munoz: A childhood memory. He was just 10 years old when fellow Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya buried the field in the 2000 Indy 500 and he remembers the reaction that came afterwards in his hometown of Bogota, Colombia’s capital.
“I remember the cars with the flags in the streets when he won,” Munoz said. “It was quite a sight. Everyone was so proud.”
He’d certainly like to set off another euphoric celebration back in Bogota at the end of this month.
Video from NASCAR America
- NASCAR schedule reveals some potential 2015 IndyCar schedule hints; Texas IndyCar returns 1
- Kevin Harvick riled at Tony Stewart portrayal in Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy 15
- Like a good stew, 2015 Sprint Cup schedule and new Chase format need time to simmer for best taste 0
- NASCAR AMERICA: How did the 2015 schedule come together? (VIDEO) 0
- NASCAR announces 2015 Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Truck Series schedules (VIDEO) 1
- FIA won’t punish Nico Rosberg after Belgian GP incident with Lewis Hamilton 5
- Will Power once again in position for IndyCar title – but this time feels different 1