Carlos Munoz was the early leader of the Edmonton 100 Indy Lights race on the 2.224-mile, 13-turn City Centre Airport circuit Saturday.
Despite a wet start, the race was going exactly as planned.
He started from pole position. The car felt good and Munoz, who had logged runner-up finishes at both Indianapolis and Belle Isle, had been quick all weekend in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport machine.
Now, running on rain tires, Munoz was still quick but the grip was fading as the track began to dry. The lap times were falling quickly.
The strategy changed as Gustavo Yacaman and Oliver Webb quickly dove into pit lane for dry tires. The field followed, filing onto pit lane as the chance of rain lessened, setting Munoz up for his second-career pit stop. Indy Lights do not regularly perform pit stops.
“It was the second pit stop of my life,” Munoz said in a team release. “I knew we hadn’t done any pit stops but my guys were really good, really fast. But [my teammate] Sebastian Saavedra’s guys were a little quicker. I knew I was really fast, so I took it slow and I overtook him.”
Munoz may have” took it slow,” but he was considerably faster than the competition. By Lap 17, he was back in the lead. From there he extended his advantage to over 10 seconds. By the time the checkered flag waved, on Lap 40, his margin of victory was 8.3453 seconds, ahead of teammate Saavedra.
“It was a crazy race,” Munoz said. “In the rain or in the dry, the car was unbelievable… It feels good to win. I had been so close at Indianapolis and Detroit, and we had always been so fast and I finally got pole position. We were first in every practice session, we won the pole and the race, so it was a perfect weekend and I have to thank my team. It’s impossible to do better! My guys did an incredible job.”
Points leader Esteban Guerrieri finished third giving him a 27-point advantage heading to Trois-Rivieres in two weeks. Webb, who was consistently one of the quickest drivers on track, finished fourth after working his way through the field following an early pit-stop, passing Tristan Vautier for fifth on Lap 24 and Yacaman for fourth on Lap 25.
Peter Dempsey finished fifth despite three spins on the wet and drying track for his second-consecutive top-five finish. Following his final spin, Dempsey continued unfazed passing Vautier for sixth on Lap 30 before making a late-braking pass stick against Yacaman deep into Turn 1 with six laps remaining.
Make the jump for full results from the Edmonton 100.
Edmonton 100 – Results
1. (1) Carlos Munoz, 40, Running
2. (6) Sebastian Saavedra, 40, Running
3. (3) Esteban Guerrieri, 40, Running
4. (5) Oliver Webb, 40, Running
5. (2) Peter Dempsey, 40, Running
6. (4) Tristan Vautier, 40, Running
7. (8) Gustavo Yacaman, 40, Running
8. (7) Victor Carbone, 40, Running
9. (10) Juan Pablo Garcia, 40, Running
10. (11) David Ostella, 40, Running
11. (9) Jorge Goncalvez, 38, Running
* starting position in paranthesis
Winners average speed: 87.359
Time of Race: 01:01:05.9813
Margin of victory: 8.3453
Lead changes: 4
Munoz 2 – 11
Vautier 13 – 14
Goncalvez 15 – 16
Munoz 17 – 40
Point Standings: Guerrieri 351, Saavedra 324, Vautier 323, Yacaman 295, Carbone 277, Munoz 271, Webb 228, Ostella 198, Garcia 198, Goncalvez 178.