INDIANAPOLIS — Saturday and Sunday marked the opening weekend of the 97th Indianapolis 500 as teams took to the track both days to get in the month’s first practice laps.
Cooler temperatures prevailed throughout the area over the weekend, but drivers made the most of their opportunities.
Andretti Autosport rookie driver Carlos Munoz, who passed his rookie test Saturday, turned the fastest lap of the month so far at 223.023 on Sunday. Munoz, though, sounded a bit like a veteran afterwards.
“It’s nice to be in the top…it’s still a long week and a long ways to go,” Munoz said. “I’m still learning, especially on the group side. I have great teammates that help me a lot and say to me what I do wrong or stuff like that.”
But his time on the track did not come without some drama as the Munoz put two wheels into the Turn 1 grass late Sunday afternoon while running with teammate Marco Andretti.
“I think it was a little bit of misunderstanding,” Munoz said. “I didn’t see him coming… it was close but it’s racing for sure. I was lucky to continue.
“After that, each lap I was more and more comfortable behind the guys. As I (said), I still have a lot to improve.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay (222.285) came in second fastest on the weekend, followed by E.J. Viso (222.523), Andretti (222.485) and rookie A.J. Allmendinger (221.279).
Hunter-Reay was cautiously optimistic after his first session Sunday.
“We really don’t know where we stack up yet because there hasn’t been a full field out there,” the defending IZOD Series Champion said. “Today was a good day to just check some things off the list. We went through some of the bigger changes that were made throughout the winter and then we had a chance to run with the teammates which was interesting at times.”