Kirkwood: One Weekend at a Time

Kyle Kirkwood is excited to begin his first NTT Indycar Series season. The driver of car 14 for A. J. Foyt Racing shared his outlook on the 2022 campaign this morning at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg First Block event.

Kirkwood’s background and winning ways n the Road to Indy should serve him well in Indycar. He is the first driver to win the championship at each rung of the ladder system, with 31 victories in 50 races.

As far as what will make the 2022 season successful, Kirkwood isn’t setting specific goals. He is looking at each round and then will total everything up at the end. What will be a successful season?

” I’m not going to really pinpoint it. I can’t say right now. Oh, if we finish top 10 in the championship that will be successful. It’s gonna be very situational. It depends where we’re at on pace, how strategy goes how everything plays out, and we’ll just have to have to pick it off weekend by weekend and not be upset about a weekend because I feel like we should have done better than we did. Yeah, obviously I’ll be disappointed but if we do better than we think that we should have even though it might be a 15th place finish. From the outside it looks bad but from within the team, it’s a success. So yeah, so we just have to take it weekend by weekend and piece everything together throughout every single weekend and if after 17 races and we have a good season, then I’ll be satisfied.

Kirkwood talked about his experience at the Rolex 24. His GTD Pro Lexus was fighting for a podium finish, but faded near the end of the race. He talked about how driving sports cars gives him the experience that the Road to Indy doesn’t cover,.

” I learned actually a lot in sports car stuff. The consequences are massive in a sports car compared to an Indy car. If you slide the car, you lose a lot of time so you have to be very precise. Also, one thing that you don’t get in the lower categories that you do in IMSA, and IndyCar or that you have to do is pitstops and a wall and tire and fuel saving. Those are all things that you don’t get in the lower series. So by me running an IMSA. It’s a lot that I can carry over to the IndyCar season. “

Kirkwood plans to do “four or five more sports car races” this year.

Unfamiliar tracks may be a bit of a challenge, but Kirkwood is eager to learn them. His favorite tracks seem to be those run by Green-Savoree, the St. Pete promoters. He talks about his favorite tracks and which tracks he needs to learn.

“St. Pete because it’s it’s a home track for me. I get a lot of family friends to come out to it. The weather’s always great. There’s just something unique about it. Even though it’s a street course it promotes a lot of good racing, a lot of good passes. And then Mid Ohio, but that’s a bit of a bias because I’ve won probably 13 or 15 races that I’ve run there. So every time someone asked me that (my favorite tracks) it’s either here or Mid Ohio, which is ironically a Green-Savoree event as well. Yeah, but they do a handful of them. Those are two of my favorites.”

Challenging tracks?

” Most likely one of the new places. I don’t have a lot of oval experience. So learning the dynamics of Indianapolis or Iowa is going to be tough for me because I haven’t been to either one of those places or driven around it. But yeah, so those will be one of the toughest I think some of the road courses that I have been to or the street courses I’ve been to will be a bit more of a breeze but the ovals will will definitely be tough.”