Kyle Kirkwood is excited to be in his first 500. I spoke with the A. J. Foyt Racing driver yesterday after practice.
“It’s a really cool thing,” Kirkwood said of driving in the 500 for the first time.
He was happy with his morning run when the number 14 car finished 11th.
“We did the most laps out of everyone. So we’re getting the critical things that we’ve got to take everything apart, put our car back together and we seem to be better than we started off for some reason. So we’re happy with everything works around.”
Kirkwood felt his car picked up where they stopped at the end of the open test last month.
“You know, it’s just starting off. Everyone’s kind of starting off slow because it’s such a long, such a long two weeks of testing and everything so it’s really just making sure we got all the big things sorted out and we’ll start fine tuning the car as days go on,” Kirkwood said.
“We feel good. I think the conditions are quite a bit different than they were at the at the open test. I think everyone out there seemed to struggle a little bit more in traffic, for whatever that reason,” he continued. “We’ve had some rain over the past couple weeks and the track might have been a bit dirty. Possible. . But we feel we feel okay at the moment.”
The team’s plan for yesterday afternoon was “We’ve got a big list of items that we need to get through this next week and we’re just hitting all this off gathering as much data together and then we’ll reconvene or go back over it at some point, either at the end of this week or next week and figure out exactly what we have and we’re looking forward to get through these types of items and hopefully ended up with a really good car at the end.”
At St. Pete Kirkwood mentioned that he didn’t have much oval experience. Racing at Texas seems to have helped his confidence on ovals.
“Yeah, I’m very comfortable. It’s a bit different than Texas is given how flat the track is. But I feel very comfortable in the number 14 Rokit Chevrolet. “
Kirkwood ended up 21st in the afternoon session. It’s not unusual to see cars slide backwards in the second practice session as the team tries different setups.