On a weekend where he struggled early, Carlos Munoz was looking to be the bright spot of the Honda Indy Toronto for Andretti Autosport. However, Munoz was instead left in the dark after a wheel issue dropped him down a lap after the first set of pit stops. The issues plagued him throughout the race, and the Colombian driver finished 17th.
“The nut went out of the wheel, so I had to go one complete lap with three wheels,” Munoz told OnPitRoad.com after the race. “I was really slow. That lost my whole race. After that, my pace was fairly good. We made a lot of changes overnight because we struggled with the team a lot, but the car was getting decent.”
The wheel nut issue Munoz suffered has already happened to him once this season, and Munoz said it’s one that needs to get resolved quickly.
“We have to work really hard to see what happened with the nut because this isn’t the first time I’ve had this problem,” he said. “In Phoenix, I had the same problem – we crashed into the wall, so we need to figure that.”
Despite the early issues, Munoz had good pace, and was running lap times that could contend with those upfront, but he felt that the problems early ultimately took him out of the race because of how difficult it is to pass.
“After that, this track is really tough to overtake,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how quick you are, it’s really tough to overtake for everyone.
“This track is really hard in general with passing,” Munoz explained. “If you start in the front, you’ll stay in the front. If you start in the back, you’ll stay in the back. I think we had a little bit more opportunities in passing with this configuration because last year was quicker corner in 11. I did see a lot of passing into one, but for sure they have to widen it a little bit with the bumps. This track is tough.”
Andretti Autosport has struggled throughout the 2016 season. Despite winning the Indianapolis 500 through their partnership with Bryan Herta and Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay has been their only podium finisher. Munoz feels as though he has the pace to keep up, if the team can work on preparing race winning cars.
“I’ve been saying since the beginning of the year that I’ve been running really good,” he said. “I’ve showed a lot of pace compared to my teammates, and compared to Ryan (Hunter-Reay). We’ve been quicker than him, and he’s an IndyCar champion.
“It just shows the way I’m driving,” Munoz continued. “I think I’m running really good. The moment the team prepares a really good car, I think we’ll be up front fighting for the win. For now, we’re going to go 100% with what we have. I know the team is trying everything to go faster. We just have to work harder.”