LONG POND —Andretti Autosport won just about everything there was to win Saturday at Pocono Raceway.
First, Marco Andretti took the pole for today’s Pocono IndyCar 400 Fueled by Sunoco and watched as his teammates locked down the rest of the first row.
Then in the Indy Lights race Saturday afternoon, Andretti driver Carlos Munoz dominated, scoring an easy wire-to-wire victory.
“I’m sure he’s really happy to be back on the podium,” Munoz said.
Munoz, who earlier this year finished second at the Indianapolis 500, won by over 16 seconds over second-place finisher Sage Karam, a high school senior from Nazareth.
“I was just really fast all week,” said Munoz. “I was just really consistent all race.”
It was the third win of the season for Munoz, and one that Karam knew he was going to get all along.
“Carlos had a really great car all weekend,” Karam said. “I just really couldn’t keep up with him.”
The victory enabled Munoz to overtake Karam in the Indy Lights point race. He now leads Karam by four points.
Even though Danica Patrick raced in Coca Cola 400 at Daytona Saturday night, there are still a couple of drivers for young women with dreams of climbing into a race car to look up to at Pocono today.
Simona De Silvestro will start on the inside of the fourth row in her Nuclear Energy Areva Chevrolet.
Unfortunately for De Silvestro, she’s not a huge fan of racing on ovals.
“It is just really tricky all the way around,” said the 24-year-old from Mont-Sur-Rolle, Switzerland, and teammate of Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan.
She currently sits in 18th place in the championships points race.
Also in the race is Pipa Mann, who will start 19th.
NOT BORING AT ALL
Helio Castroneves has something to say about fans that don’t think Pocono’s layout makes for exciting racing.
They don’t know what they are talking about, according to the current IndyCar points leader.
“It’s extremely difficult to drive this type of track,” he said. “You have to be very particular and keep the same line for nearly 200 laps. And the car is very unforgiving.
“For those people that don’t realize that, they just want to see a big mess out there.”
EYE ON THE BENCH
Driver Ed Carpenter took time out from prepping for the Pocono 400 on Friday to check out the Boston Celtics new coach.
The Celtics hired Butler coach Brad Stevens. Carpenter, a Butler graduate and a close friend of Stevens, wasn’t about to miss the coach’s first press conference with his new team.
“He did a great job, he always does,” the driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet said Saturday morning. “I’m eager to see who the next Butler coach is.”
He didn’t have to wait long. The school named Brandon Miller, a former point guard for the Bulldogs, coach later in the day.
Carpenter was happy for his friend.
“I feel great for Brad,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for him.”
A.J. Foyt may not be at Pocono this weekend, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t give his driver any insight on Pocono’s tri-oval layout.
“We talked about it before I came here, knowing A.J. is the master of it,” said Takuma Sato, who drives Foyt’s No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. “Obviously it’s a different time and the track has been resurfaced, but overall the characteristics are the same.
“He gave me little tips on how you set up the car targeting Turn 1 and Turn 3.”
Foyt is recovering from hip surgery at his home in Houston. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday, and doctors say it will be six to eight weeks before he can travel. He has won four times at Pocono, including his last victory in an Indy car in 1981.
Sato is just glad that Foyt had a chance to share his wisdom.
“I’m happy to take any advice he gives me because he has great eyes to see really what’s happening,” Sato said. “Even though he drove in a different time, his comments are really accurate and I love it.”