LEEDS, Ala. – The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama started off on a good note for the ABC Supply team but it did not end well.
Starting 16th and 20th respectively, Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly were improving their positions and by the first pit stop, Munoz was up to 13th and Daly 14th. Munoz, who started on the harder black compound (primary) tires, switched to the softer red tires but immediately started complaining that the car was not working nearly as well. So much so, the team brought him in seven laps early to switch back to the blacks. For some reason the switch back did not make the difference that they expected. For the rest of the race Munoz struggled in the car. He placed 17th.
“This was a really long day, it was one of my toughest races in IndyCar,” said a dejected
Munoz afterwards. “It started out okay and then after the first pit stop we just lost the car totally – there was zero grip in the car. I’m not sure what happened. I just wanted to finish the race and not go off track. It was my toughest race at Barber. We just have to sit down, see what happened and learn from it.”
Daly, on the other hand, was having a good run having worked his way up to 12th at a track where passing is very difficult. Given the challenges of the day before with the electrical problems causing him to miss a practice session, it was encouraging that he was running competitively.
The team had solid pit stops until the most critical one of the race which was the final one under caution on lap 64 of the 90-lap event. With everyone pitting at the same time, positions can be gained or lost by thousandths of a second. Unfortunately for Daly, there was a problem on the pit stop which cost him three positions.