Carlos Munoz primed for Indianapolis 500 success

Rookie finished second in 2013

MIAMI - As a rookie in 2013, Carlos Munoz finished second in the Indianapolis 500.

At just age 22, Munoz is a young man on the move. He began his pro career at age 15, working his way up from Formula 3 through Indy Lights to a full-time ride this season with Andretti Autosport.

"I'm really happy, especially at 22 years old," Munoz said. "A top team usually doesn't like the young drivers. Ganassi or Penske, they prefer the experienced drivers."

Munoz, a Colombian native, now lives in Miami.

"It's nice to be here. Since I was a child, I came here with my family to Miami to have holidays," Munoz said.

Munoz was fast from the beginning of last year's Indy 500 and was firmly in the race on Pole Day, qualifying second, only the fourth rookie to start on the front row in the last 15 years.

Kanaan held Munoz off to claim his first Indy 500 win.

"I don't think about it much," Munoz said. "It's in the past. I have another shot this year. I didn't cross the finish line first. You just have to stop thinking what would have happened."

Getting ready for this year's race has meant a lot of work away from the track.

"I work out five times a week, biking and running, swimming, gym sessions," Munoz said. "I also do one day of go-cart."

As an active triathlete, Miami gives Munoz plenty of places to train on land and water.

"It's not nice to be all the time in the gym. Here, I can run outside. I can do swimming in the ocean," he said.

The south Florida setting is also good for rest and relaxation.

"Here, I don't think about racing all the time," Munoz said. "I think it's really bad for you to think about racing 100 percent all the day long. So, here I can disconnect. I can do my thing. I have a lot of friends because they study here at the university."

Though his career is just getting started, it seems Munoz is primed for big things.

"My goal this year -- once I opened this door, I'm in the room with the IndyCar drivers -- I just want to close it and stay there for a long time," he said.

One of Munoz's great childhood memories was cheering in the streets when fellow Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indy 500 in 2000. This year, he'll compete against Montoya.

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