STREETS OF LONG BEACH, CA
April 21, 2013 on NBC Sports Network
BEACH 100: Munoz cruises to victory, takes series points
Munoz celebrates his Firestone Indy Lights series victory
in Long Beach, Calif.
BEACH, Calif. – Carlos Munoz won the Long
Beach 100 almost by default.
The pole sitter
would have preferred competition over the scheduled 45
laps on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit,
but an incident seconds after taking the green eliminated
the cars of Jack Hawsworth, Zach Veach and Peter Dempsey
-- the second through fourth starters.
later, Juan Pablo Garcia and Mikael Grenier dropped out
because of spins and contact.
That left Gabby
Chaves and Sage Karam to challenge the 21-year-old Colombian
over the remaining laps, but the No. 26 Dialy-Ser car
for Andretti Autosport was too strong. He went on to win
by 2.2190 seconds over Chaves in the race shortened to
41 laps (one-hour time limit).
It was the
second consecutive flag-to-flag victory for Munoz, who
leaped over Hawksworth for first in the Firestone Indy
Lights championship standings (133-112) heading into the
Firestone Freedom 100 on May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. Hawksworth was penalized and moved to the rear
of the field following the race.
are scheduled for this week at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway
and May 2 at the 2.5-mile Speedway to prepare for the
a perfect weekend again," said Munoz, who provided
Andretti Autosport its second Firestone Indy Lights victory
at Long Beach (JR Hildebrand won in 2009). "I saw
the crash (on Lap 1) in the mirrors and thought, 'Whoa,
it’s my two biggest competitors in the championship.
I have to finish this race. I don’t care if I finish
second or third, I’m going to be the points leader.'
tried to finish the race. My Andretti Autosport team brought
me a really great car this weekend."
It was a long
race for me. I saw the crash in my mirrors and said, 'Whoa,
I have to finish this race, whether I finish second or
third I'll be the points leader.' The car was great all
the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian car, has
finished third and second in the past two races of his
inaugural Firestone Indy Lights season. Fellow rookie
Karam recorded his second podium finish in the No. 8 Schmidt
Peterson with Curb-Agajanian car.
More cars were
expected to be in the mix.
the long front straight, Veach was to the left of Hawksworth
with an eye of making the pass on the inside of in Turn
1. But the front-right wheel of Veach's No. 12 K12/Andretti
Autosport car made contact with the left-rear wheel of
Hawksworth's No. 77 Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian
made left-side contact with the retaining wall, while
Hawksworth's car spun across the track and made contact
with the retaining wall. The incident collected Dempsey's
No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing's car. All drivers exited their
cars without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team.
Carlos ahead of me I had a pull, something that Hawksworth
didn't have," said Veach, who qualified a season-best
third. "Obviously, he could tell in a way that I
was gaining on him. I felt that we were going to get him
going into Turn 1. I kept gaining on him and he kept trying
to muscle me to the wall. At that point I was to a spot
that I couldn't lift. I was to the wall so I gave him
as room as I absolutely could."
whose team had to prepare a backup car because of a crash
in practice: "I thought I was clear on the inside
for the first lap and when I came across there was a car
there. It was my fault and I'm sorry to Zach and Peter
for ruining their days. It was an awful weekend for me
here in Long Beach and I'm sorry for the team that we
have another wrecked race car."
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to our coverage of the 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long
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