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article imageINDYCAR: Munoz plays the rain to first career win

By John Duarte     May 31, 2015 in Sports
Detroit - Carlos Munoz won't complain about the turn of events on Saturday afternoon at the first of two races part of the Dual in Detroit. All that matters is the has his first career win in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
The weather played a huge part in deciding the outcome of Race 1 in the only doubleheader on this year's Verizon IndyCar Series season. With 30 minutes to go in the race, officials put the race under caution due to lightning in the area. Shortly thereafter, the red flag came out and cars were called into the pits. The race would be eventually brought to end after 47 laps completed in what was to be a 70-lap race with conditions not likely to improve. That mattered little to Munoz.
“Racing is racing, which is what happened with the weather,” the first time race winner said. “I want to win in normal conditions, but it was the same for everyone. And that's how IndyCar is.”
The simple matter of fact is, Munoz's team used the weather to its advantage and worked a strategy to put its driver at the front of the field at precisely the right time. With most of the field lapping the Belle Isle circuit on rain tires expecting for the skies to open up, Munoz stayed with the slick tires and stretched the lead over his competitors.
“We knew (the) race would be like that — rain, dry, rain, dry — and we made a good call,” explained Munoz, who had started the race in the 20 slot. “When you start at the back, you have to gamble. The first win of my IndyCar career feels good.”
It was a bittersweet afternoon for Munoz's teammate Marco Andretti, who also gambled staying out on slick tires, but was done in by a lack of fuel and not the tire strategy.
“We didn't really want to come in, but I needed some fuel,” said Andretti. “I knew whoever stayed out was going to beat me.”
Landing on the podium was a good result, but that seemed like little solace for Andretti.
“To me, it wasn't really a gamble. I knew the track was there and it seemed like a no-brainer as long as I could keep it off the fence, which we were able to do,” the race runner up said. “But it was a blessing and a curse because Carlos was able to stop a couple of laps after me, and that was the difference.”
Placing third in the race was Simon Pagenaud. He said “it was very dicey,” but the race strategy paid off in the end.
“I'm over the moon right now,” he said. “We stayed out a bit longer and then made the call at the perfect time to jump to third and then get a first podium with Team Penske.”
Will Power finished fourth in Race 1 and closed the gap on teammate Juan Pablo Montoya at the top of the Verizon IndyCar Series driver standings. Montoya had a 25-point lead coming into the two Detroit races, but that has been whittled down to 11 after the first race. Scott Dixon is third in the standings, 51 points behind Montoya.
The second race in the only doubleheader on the Verizon IndyCar Series season this year, goes on May 31, 2015 on the Belle Isle Park circuit, with the weather likely to be a factor again. Early forecasts call for more rain and the temperature barely climbing above 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).
More about verizon indycar series, dual in detroit, carlos munoz, marco andretti, simon pagenaud
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