In an announcement released by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, veteran driver Carlos Munoz will pilot the No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda in both this weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland at the Portland International Raceway and the season finale at Sonoma Raceway. The news comes as one more domino from Robert Wickens’ vicious accident at Pocono Raceway on August 19.
Munoz, 26, made his only appearance of this 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season as a one-off driver for Andretti Autosport at the 102nd Indianapolis 500. The Colombian driver rallied from a 21st place starting position to grab a respectable 7th place result in the scorching-hot temperatures on May 27.
The last action Munoz saw in an Indy car on a road course was back in September of 2017 while driving for A.J. Foyt Racing. Munoz started 22nd and finished 15 at Sonoma Raceway in last year’s season finale, finishing one lap down.
“Robert and his family have been in my prayers and I continue to pray for his recovery,” Munoz stated in the Schmidt Peterson press release. “I’m very grateful that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have entrusted me to compete in the Lucas Oil Honda for the last two races of the season. I am looking forward to pushing hard for a great result for the team and for Robert.”
Wickens has been hospitalized since the August 19 accident in Pennsylvania and it wasn’t until August 25 that SPM updated the situation by stating the Candian driver “is breathing without medical assistance and speaking with his family.”
Still, the extent of Wickens’ spinal cord injury remains indeterminate after surgery was performed on his spine earlier last week. Wickens has also endured surgeries on his right arm and lower extremities as a result of the multi-car crash.
The start at Portland will be the first appearance for Munoz at the historic race track. In four starts at Sonoma, Munoz has a career-best finish of 15th (twice) and a career-best start of 9th in 2014.
Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.