Munoz shies away from Firestone Indy Lights title favorite label

Andretti Autosport's Carlos Munoz is the only current Firestone Indy Lights driver to have won a race in the series, but he isn't ready to declare himself the favorite to win the 2013 championship.

"I don't see myself as the guy to beat at St. Pete or for the championship," he said. "I just want to my work as best as I can – my work with my engineer, my physical preparation and my mental preparation. If I do that well, the results will come."

The 21-year-old Colombian, who will attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth car from Andretti Autosport, won a pair of races and a pole en route to a fifth-place finish in the standings in 2012.

He turned the fastest Firestone Indy Lights lap on the 1.67-mile Sebring International Raceway short course (55.9405 seconds) during the morning session of the second day of the Open Test after setting the fastest lap March 7.

"He's quick, but he has an extra year in the car that a lot of us don't," said Zach Veach, Munoz's teammate, who also ran a lap quicker than Munoz's fast lap from March 7. "But we both have good cars and it's really close among all the cars here."

Though Munoz may not consider himself the favorite, many of his competitors are using his car as a benchmark during testing.

"We're concentrating on our own work, and we didn't show everything yesterday," said Belardi Auto Racing's Peter Dempsey. "But at the same time you do look at everyone else's time to make sure you do have a good benchmark."

Firestone Indy Lights teams will have another Open Test March 11 at Barber Motorsports Park in preparation for the season opener March 23 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

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