9.2.14 (via MotorSportsTalk) – The early season favorite for Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year was Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz, and Munoz confirmed the award with an eighth place finish in Saturday night’s MAVTV 500 season finale at Auto Club Speedway.
Munoz scored three podium finishes (all third-places), two additional top-fives and three further top-10 finishes to end eighth in the IndyCar points standings.
Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay finished sixth, Marco Andretti was ninth and James Hinchcliffe 12th this season.
As for the other rookies, Munoz was part of one of IndyCar’s better rookie classes in recent memory (2011 comes to mind), in a year that also featured the emergence – and podiums – from Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth and race winner Carlos Huertas, all at Houston.
“First of all I want to wish (Mikhail) Aleshin a speedy recovery,” Munoz said. “As a rookie this year, I think it was the strongest rookie field IndyCar ever had. In general, we had the podiums and everything and that was great, and that’s why I feel really nice to be Rookie of the Year.
“As I said before, the competition this year was really tough. I’m just really happy; this is just the beginning, hopefully, of my career in IndyCar for many years. It’s always nice to have this honor in your resume. I think we finished the season strong, so I’m happy.”