Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced on Wednesday that veteran Carlos Munoz will drive the team’s No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda in place of injured Robert Wickens at the final two Verizon IndyCar Series races of the season – the Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday and the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 16.
GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND: Entry list
Munoz has made 71 Verizon IndyCar Series starts since 2013 with one victory, in the first race of the Detroit Belle Isle doubleheader in 2015. The 26-year-old Colombian also has a pair of runner-up finishes at the Indianapolis 500, in his 2013 series debut and again in 2016.
“Robert and his family have been in my prayers and I continue to pray for his recovery,” Munoz said. "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 is recovering from injuries to his legs, right arm and spine following a crash in the Aug. 19 race at Pocono Raceway. In his first Verizon IndyCar Series season, the 29-year-old Canadian earned one pole position and seven top-five finishes before the incident. Wickens remains at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Munoz joined the Verizon IndyCar Series part-time in 2013 while continuing as a full-time driver in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the top level of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2014-16 before moving to AJ Foyt Racing for the 2017 season.
His only start this year came at the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, where he finished seventh for Andretti Autosport. It marked the 30th top-10 finish in his 71 career starts.
In other Portland-related news, Harding Racing confirmed that Gabby Chaves will drive the No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet for the race weekend. Chaves drove the car for the first 11 races of the season before being replaced by Conor Daly for three events. Chaves returned to the cockpit for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline on Aug. 25 at Gateway Motorsports Park, where he finished 18th.
Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan announced that the No. 18 Honda driven by Sebastien Bourdais will have primary sponsorship at Portland from Gorilla Automotive Products. The car’s livery features bright purple and white in the paint scheme.
On-track activities for the Grand Prix of Portland begin will an open test day Thursday at Portland International Raceway for all entries. The official race weekend on the 1.964-mile permanent road course kicks off with a pair of practice sessions (1:45 and 5:35 p.m. ET) that will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, youtube.com/indycar and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
A third practice takes place at 2:10 p.m. ET Saturday, ahead of Verizon P1 Award knockout qualifying at 6:20 p.m. Those sessions will also stream on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, youtube.com/indycar and the INDYCAR Mobile app. A same-day telecast of qualifying airs at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN.
Live coverage of the 105-lap race, the first for Indy cars at Portland in 11 years, begins at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.