Carlos Munoz

Carlos Munoz will return to the No. 26 Honda with Andretti Autosport for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the team announced.

Munoz, who turns 24 on Jan. 2, will join teammates Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay for the third successive year on the starting grid March 13 for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“I’m really happy to be able to return for another year. The 2016 schedule looks really nice and we hope to fight for an Indy 500 win and a championship,” said Munoz, who started on the front row and finished second in the Indianapolis 500 in his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in 2013.

Munoz, who resides in Miami, posted his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series win this past season at Belle Isle. He added two other top-five finishes (fifth at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway) in the final four races of the season.

In 2014, Munoz recorded five top-five finishes and earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. He competed for Andretti Autosport in Indy Lights in 2013, posting four victories on the way to placing third in the championship.

“Carlos has been part of the Andretti family of drivers for several years now. We’re really pleased with his growth as a driver and look forward to a competitive 2016,” team owner Michael Andretti said.

Castroneves honored with Golden Helmet Award in Brazil

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves won his seventh Capacete de Ouro (Golden Helmet), one of the highest honors given to Brazilian racing drivers by the magazine Racing.

Castroneves, who last won the honor in 2012, earned the award in the TOP category, which is given to the top driver racing in INDYCAR. He has also won the award in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Created in 1997 for Racing, the primary auto racing magazine in Brazil, the Capacete de Ouro is selected by a vote of Brazilian journalists.

Sportsnet numbers up significantly

Popularity of the Verizon IndyCar Series is increasing everywhere, including Canada – especially among a key younger demographic, according to INDYCAR’s Canadian broadcast partner Sportsnet. 

Overall viewership of Verizon IndyCar Series races on Sportsnet One increased 101 percent in 2015 over 2014 and showed a cumulative increase of 146 percent from 2013 to 2015. The coveted demographic of viewers 25 to 34 years old demonstrated a ten-fold increase from 2014 to 2015 on Sportsnet One.

Of note

Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya will be a guest Nov. 22 on the “Dave Despain Show” at 8:30 p.m. ET on MAVTV. … Gary Gerould, who first appeared on ESPN in the mid-1980s as a pit reporter on telecasts of Indy car races, retired from television following coverage last weekend of the NHRA event in California. He’ll continue as the play-by-play radio broadcaster of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. … Verizon IndyCar Series races will continue to be telecast in Germany on Sport 1 US through a rights package with ESPN Media Distribution.