Long Beach- Quick Thoughts on a Most Satisfying Race

Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

First, congratulations to Kyle Kirkwood on his first Indycar win. Kirkwood has won at every open wheel level. Once he starts winning, he doen’t seem to be able to srop. Indycar is a tougher place to win constantly, but I look for him to get at least one more win this season.

Kirkwood’s first win came in his 20th Indycar race, but his third in a compoetitive ride. As I wrote yesterday that his pole win was just a matter of time, so is this first victory.

The Start

Long Beach is not known for great starts, but today;’s was a particularly bad one. Perhaps Indycar could start single fileon the front stretch, or they could start on I believe it is Pine Street where the cars have room and time to line up.

Pato O’Ward was accused of jumping the start, but my first impression was he was not the only one.

Pato’s Bad Day

It was not the best day for Pato O’Ward, who started the race as the points leader. He was fortunate to only fall to second place. His incident with Dixon, which I thought was similar to the mclaughlin/Grosjean collision in St. Pete, might have warranted a penalty. O’Ward’s spin later in the race, which effectively ended his day. was an unenforced penalty.

O’Ward showed good sportmanship letting the leaders by when he didn’t have to late in the race.

Strategy Hurts Newgarden

Josrf’s Newgarden’s strategy seemed to pay off as he grabbed the lead on lap 22. The yellow for Scott Dixon on lap 20 hurt his long range plan. He ended up ninth, having to save fuel the last stint.

Kirkwood stayed out one more lap before his last stop, and got enough of an edge to get out front.


This was a very good race. Contenders fell back for various reasons, different pit strategies had different outcomes, some not expected, the race ended with a three way battle for the win, with jus two seconds separating the top three at the checkered flag.

There were some great duels throughout the pack. Colton Herta and Alex Palou had a terrific battle for position during the race.

The Rahal Letterman lanigan team had a respectable showing today, finishing 12th, 13th, and 14th. Graham Rahal led the team, followed byJack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard.

Andretti Autosport finished 1, 2 and 4 today. The team has won both street course poles, and they had a shot at winning at St.Pete. They have figured out the street circuits.

No one should be questioning Michael Andretti’s move of Bryan Herta as Kirkwood’s strategist. Herta is the perfect person to work with a young driver,. He coached Alexander rossi to the Indianapolis 500 victory in 2016, and helped Colton to several wins. The Herta/Kirkwood combination could be a title contender by next year.

2 thoughts on “Long Beach- Quick Thoughts on a Most Satisfying Race

  1. I know Race Control is trying to prevent a pile-up in Turn One, but Sundays start of the race was the most ragged I think I’ve ever seen at Long Beach. They should either follow your suggestion, or slow them to a crawl until the first half of the field is lined up coming off of the hairpin. This was ridiculous!


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