Kirkwood- Homework and Calculated Moves for a Successful Race

A relaxed Kyle Kirkwood talks about the 500

Kyle Kirkwood.studies past5 races to watch what other drivers did and how situations developed. He watches past 500s just from the aeoscreen era since those are the nones relevant to him.

Races before the aeroscreen ‘”…takes up a little too much of your time…,” he said during today’s media availability.

Kirkwood, inhis first year with Andretti Autosport, thinks the amount of passing on Sunday will depend on the weathe rather than the downforce.

“”This place is more weather dependent than downforce dependent. if the weather is cool and it’s crisp, and it’s cl;oudy and thentrack temperaturestays down the racing will be great. But if it gets hot you’re not going to seea lot of passing regardles of the downforce,” he said.

Kirkwood said The 500 is a”very calculated race.”

“I feel like if you push too hard to try and get something done.. it ususally doesn’t work out for you.”

“Four, five, six cars ahead, and you’re planning your passes off that, rather than just the guythat’s directly in front of you.”

Kirkwood feels he has a good race car and was disappointed in not making the Fast 12. He is stilloptimistic starting from 14th.

Kirkwood: A Different Kind of Pressure

Kyle Kirkwood has a d a few days to enjoy his first career Indycar victory. In2022, he felt the pressure of a highlytouted rookie trying to ucceed in not thebest of equipment. His move to Andretti for 2023 is beginning to pay dividends. In St. Pete Kirkwood told me he flt less pressure in his new team. I asked him today if the win eased the pressure even more.

“Depends on how people perceive it. Right? I think It relieves something. I don’t know if that’s pressure. Because now it’s almost seems like there’s more pressure because people are like, Okay, now that he’s proved that, let’s see him continue to do this, you know, and and there’s pressure from that as well. So it’s a new type of pressure. So it’ll continue.”

As for when nhe might win again, Kirkwood doesn’t have a particular trackm in mind.

“I mean, I have my favorite tracks, right, that I feel like I’m better at than others. But it really depends on the weekend, how we roll out. And I’ve yet to run a road course with them (Andretti) except for at Thermal, which we were really fast. So there is promise there too. We could be really good at Barber.”

The morning session began with some issues, but the team appeared to have figured them out near the end of the practice.

“They’re (running conditions) okay. I mean, we only did four laps at the end. We were having some gremlins that were fighting which is very normal for not running a car for a year then rolling it out here. So you’re always fighting some little things, but we got through it. We ran like four laps there at the end and then and then yeah, the car fell awesome. I thought it was like Man, this thing is planted. Like we got a fast race car. “

The amount of pressure doesn’t seem to bother Kirkwood. I think his win last Sunday was the start of a multi win season.

As of 3:53 pm Kirkwood is sixth fastest with a lap of 224.8906 mph.

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.

Just a Matter of Time- Kirkwood Takes Long Beach Pole

Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

As soon as Kyle Kirkwodd and Andretti Autosport announced their deal for 2023, I knew Kirkwood would win a pole and possibly a race this season. The first two races gave me pause, but so far this weekend has restored my faith.

Kirkwood won the pole for tomorrow’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, beating Marcus Ericsson by 0.0375 seconds.he took the lead on his final lap. Kirkwood led the first qualifying group and was third in Round 2. . .

Kirkwood has now won at least one pole on every level of American open wheel racing., beginning with F1600. He is also the first driver to win championships on each level of the Road to Indy. Is his first Indycar victory in the cards for tomorrow? He has stiff competition just in the fast Six, let alone Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin who didn’t advance.


Why did Pato O’Ward not save his tires as his crew requestedon the final hot lap of Round 2? he was secure in the Fast Six. O’Ward was the fastest a;; weeken, but will start sixth.

Andretti Autosport has won the pole at both street races in 2023.

Do not dismiss the chances of the Chip Ganassi racing cars tomorrow. They were in the top 10 all weekend, and Scott Dixon, Marcus ericsson, and Alex palou all made the Fast Six. Ericsson starts second.

If today and esterday are precursors of how the race will go, we could see another yellow filled race.


Indycar Season Preview-2023 Breakthroughs and Hot Seats

Today is the first in a series of preview articles as we head into the 2023 NTT Indycar Series season. Let’s take a look at four drivers who I think are going to have much improved years. Three are rookies from last year, and one young veteran I think is about to hit his stride. We will also look at some drivers who may be fighting for their jobs this year.

Drivers to Watch

Kyle Kirkwood

Kirkwood seems to be enjoying his new team. he has been quick in testing, as have his Andretti teammates. What remains to be seen is if his racecraft has improved. Last year Kirkwood sometimes tried too hard to overcome equipment deficits. the result was a lot of unforced errors and a 24th place finish in the final standings. He has the equipment and the team behind him to succeed this year. i expect to see a lot of the Kirkwood we saw on the Road to Indy in 2023. Will he win a race? I think that is possible, but not likely this season.

Christian Lundgaard

Lundgaard quietly earned Rookie of the Year in 2022, and showed steady improvement as the season went on. He earned seven Top 10 finishes, including two Top Fives and one podium. A year’s experience, backing by Hy-Vee, and an improving RLLteam should combine to see even better results for Lundgaard in 2023. I see him ending up in the TopTen at the end of the year.

David Malukas

A rough start to 2022 probably cost Malukas the Rookie of the Year title. He lost to Lundgaard by only 18 points. A driver who showed increasing maturity as the year progressed, Malukas drive to a brilliant second place at World Wide Technology Raceway. Malukas had one other top 10, at Iowa. He was the highest finishing rookie at the Indianapolis 500, but his lack of NASCAR titles cost him Indy Rookie of the Year. Of the three sophomores, I think Malukas is the most probable to eke out a win in 2023. Dale Coyne Racing doesn’t have the best equipment, but they know how to play the rules, and I think a race will fall his way.

Rinus VeeKay

It’s time for Rinus to stop teasing us. The potential is there for a breakout season. We have been waiting for the ECR driver to put together a solid, consistent season. VeeKay won the pole at Barber and finished third after a slow out lap following his second pit stop. He had a decent year in 2022 with six Top Tens and three Top Fives, but just one podium. Maybe we expect too much of VeeKay. I look for a top ten season finish and more regular top five appearances. A win is possible.

Hot Seats

Three drivers need to have really good seasons if they wish to stay in Indycar in 2024. One will be leaving his current team after the season, and this year is an audition for all the other teams. The other two have to show significant improvement in 2023.

Jack Harvey

We still aren’t sure what kind of a driver Jack Harvey is. Harvey had just one Top ten in 2022. That will not be good enough this coming season., I hoped for better results since he joined the series. For 2023, a different sponsor, different car number, and new crew may help Harvey rise to the level that fans have expected of him. I’m not expecting a win, but a final spot in the top 15 would be a significant improvement.

Romain Grosjean

I don’t know Grosjean’s contract status, but I thought when he joined Andretti, he would be a consistent contender for podiums and wins, 2022 was not a good year for Andretti overall, but I thought the former F1 driver would enhance their program. It didn’t happen. Grosjean has been quick in testing during the preseason, and he seems to feel the team has a better baseline heading into 2023. A win is possible, but more top five and top ten finishes are needed.

Felix Rosenqvist

Rosenqvist will depart Arrow McLaren at the end of 2023. In 2022,he had to fight to keep his job, and he showed himself to be up to the task. In 2023 his objective si to show the other teams that he belongs in Indycar. I think he does, and I have no doubt Rosenqvist will show well this season. A win will be tough given his teammates and the competition from other teams,but look for Rosenqvist to have a deal in place with a new team for 2024 before the season ends.

Kirkwood Leads Final Test

Photo from @FollowAndretti

Kyle Kirkwood led the fourth test session at The Thermal Club this afternoon. Kirkwood finished second, third, and first in the three sessions he ran. His team needed to change a clutch yesterday afternoon, and Kirkwood missed the second round. Kirkwood’s time of 1:38.8279 was the third fastest overall for the two days.

Kirkwood spoke about his excitement to be with Andretti this season.

“My entire goal last year was to take a car that everyone knows
is usually mid pack or towards the back and put it up front.
That was always a goal of mine. That was exciting for me.
It’s also exciting to be in a fast car and be fast in a fast car.
There’s benefits to both. I’m just as excited as I was last
year, to be honest. I’m definitely leaving this place in a happier spot than most
of the events last year.”

The Spring Training event at The Thermal Club seems to have been a big hit with the drivers, but they expressed doubts about holding a race there. Kirkwood thinks it would be a lot like Barber, with few passing opportunities..


Morning at Laguna Seca

Good morning or good afternoon, wherever you are. We are two hours from the first Indy Lights practice, followed by the first Indycar practice.

Some news items to catch up on.

Not a huge surprise, but Scott mcLaughlin has signed a multi year deal with Team Penske. The second year driver has three poles and three wins this season.

In a huge boost to the Indy Lights Series, HMD announced their intention to field eight Indy Lights cars in 2023. There have been years when the Lights field barely had eight cars. HMD currently runs points leader Linus Lundqvist, who should wrap up the championship this weekend.

Lundqvist said he wants to finish his championship “on a high.”

I’m hearing the chances of Colton Herta getting a super license exemption to race in Formula 1 are slim.

Championship Strategy

Josef Newgarden said he will approach this weekend mostly like any other.

“…you treat it to be the same as always, working on trying to maximize the car trying to make your points like oh, this is gonna be the same regardless.”

About the decision to test at Portland instead of Laguna Seca, Newgarden said,

“We tried a different strategy I think it worked for us at Portland for sure. But you know what time is gonna tell if that was the right decision or not. I think we feel good confident about that.”

Kirkwood on Moving On

Kyle Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood reflected on his time with A. J. Foyt Racing and moving to Andretti autosport next year.

“It’s bittersweet, because, and I really, I really wanted to win with this team. It’s great. The guys really like a family atmosphere, you kind of feel the heritage within the team. . So I’m gonna go into powerhouse team , like Andretti Autosport. Knowing I’m gonna have a good car atalmost all events and so it’s, it’s good for that sense. But it’s also it’s also bitter in the sense that it kind of feels like a moment leaving a family. So we’ll definitely be emotional. But I mean, no matter what, it’s good for everyone.. , One thing I can definitely take away from the season is we’ve definitely developed the car better, especially on street courses. But we definitely progressed on everything, got the car in a better spot, whoever fills into that number 14 car is gonna be in a better spot than where I was at the end of the season, which is nice to know from just my own knowledge.

Working with really good .teammates is the main thing I’ve never really had a teammate to push me in the past couple years. And given the lineup stays the same, it’s gonna be a ton of fun working with all of them, because I know they’re all stellar drivers and they’ll all push me to do better and, and actually be very valuable stuff and whatnot. So that’s something I’m extremely lucky. “

Kirkwood doesn’t necessarily feel pressure jumping into the 27 car. “Rossi has obviously done very well, because eight wins in that car over a few seasons almost won a championship. So while there is pressure, it’s obvious that the cars would be good, but I think people understand that I’m coming in just after a rookie season and coming out with a new team and stuff. So I can’t be expected to be right out of the gate. It’s gonna stay right but as it goes along the road, it’s probably gonna pressure me to get up to his level, if not better him. So yeah, there’s a little bit of pressure involved, but there’s always pressure “

Bommarito to Sponsor Kirkwood

Kyle Kirkwood will carry the main sponsor of the Bommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway next weekend in the final oval race of the Indycar season. Sexton properties has been Kirkwood’s main sponsor since Mid Ohio when Rokit was dropped from the team.

The release from A. J. Foyt Racing:

ST. LOUIS (August 10, 2022) — The Bommarito Automotive Group continues to expand its footprint in motorsports. Missouri’s #1 automotive group has signed as the primary marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing’s No. 14 Chevrolet for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway August 19-20. Associate sponsor and friends over at Rebel Bourbon are also proud to be a part of the 6th Annual Bommarito 500 NTT INDYCAR Series race.

A.J. Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, started his race team over 50 years ago.

He won three of his seven INDYCAR championships and claimed the final two of his Indy 500 victories while driving for his own team. Since his retirement from driving in 1993, his team has continued to win, claiming two more national titles and the 1999 Indy 500 with Kenny Brack. At WWT Raceway, the team has five top-10 finishes, three of which were in the top-five, including a fifth place last year with Sebastien Bourdais and a third place in 2019 with Tony Kanaan.

The No. 14 Bommarito Chevrolet will be driven by rookie Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 Indy Lights Champion who won a pole and finished second in both Indy Lights races last year at the 1.25-mile oval track at WWT Raceway. The 23-year-old Floridian’s meteoric ascent to the NTT INDYCAR Series is marked by consecutive championships in the three-tier Road to Indy ladder series.

Bommarito Automotive Group is Missouri’s largest automotive group that began with a single Oldsmobile dealership managed by Frank Bommarito over 50 years ago. In 1998, Frank Bommarito handed over the reins to his son John Bommarito who continued to build the network of dealerships to its present number of 20 locations employing over 900 team members in the St. Louis area.

“We are honored to be a part of bringing the NTT IndyCar Series to the St. Louis region. Thanks to the support of race fans across the country, we’ve demonstrated that when you win on the weekend it generates sales on Monday,” said John Bommarito, President of the Bommarito Automotive Group.

“As an iconic brand here in the St. Louis marketplace and selling vehicles nationwide, the Bommarito Automotive Group could not be more proud to adorn the iconic AJ Foyt Racing No. 14 Chevy, driven by Kyle Kirkwood, for the 6th Annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 right here in our own hometown. Bommarito and A.J. “Super Tex” Foyt, together making history.”

“I’ve been a dedicated race fan for decades and to have the opportunity to partner with AJ Foyt Racing at the sixth annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 is an honor,” said Chuck Wallis, Vice President and General Manager of the Bommarito Automotive Group. “To be able to be involved in the motorsports industry at the level Bommarito has dedicated to it is an absolute dream come true.”

Tickets for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 are on sale now at The race will be broadcast by the USA Network Aug. 20, Saturday night starting at 6 p.m. ET.

About Bommarito Automotive Group For over 50 years, Bommarito has been a staple in the St. Louis marketplace. The Bommarito Automotive Group currently operates 20 automotive locations throughout every St. Louis neighborhood, led by President John Bommarito and over 900 dedicated team members. Bommarito is recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as Missouri’s No. 1 Automotive Group.

Bommarito Automotive Group continues to grow its brand while also growing its involvement in motorsports. Bommarito began its motorsports involvement in 2015 with Jordan Anderson Racing and since has evolved into Jordan Anderson Racing with Bommarito Autosport and are owners of the No. 31 NASCAR Xfinity team with driver Myatt Snyder and the No. 3 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Bommarito also holds the title sponsorship for the Bommarito 500 NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at WWTR since 2017. In addition, Bommarito now is involved with the sponsorship of the Vasser Sullivan IMSA team which recently has earned podium finishes in consecutive races. Recently they were the primary sponsor on the iconic #43 Richard Petty NASCAR CUP car at the inaugural Cup Race at WWT Raceway. And now they are proud to announce the partnership with AJ Foyt Racing for the 6th Annual Bommarito 500 with Kyle Kirkwood in the driver seat.

Visit online 24/7 at and follow their social channels @BommaritoAuto and @BommaritoAutoSport

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Herta, Rossi Lead IMS Road Test Day

Simona De Silvestro on track at Thursday’s test

Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi were the tow fastest drivers in Thursday’s test on the IMS road course. Eight drivers from four teams turned laps on a day that might closely reflect the conditions for the Gallagher Grand Prix July 30.

Herta was happy to drive the track on which he won the GMR Grand Prix in May in dry conditions.

“It’s good to get an understanding of what its going to be like that day,” Herta said.

Colton Herta

Grosjean Talks about May

Romain Grosjean had an issue with his car in the morning and only ran two laps. he talked about his experience in his first Indianapolis 500.

“I was annoyed with the car. I hope I never have that car again,” he told the media. Asked his impression of the opening ceremonies, Grosjean said “That was really cool.”

Romain Grosjean

Kirkwood Excited for Mid Ohio

Kyle Kirkwood is looking forward to next weekend’s race at Mid Ohio. The rookie for A. J. Foyt Racing has had a lot of success there when he was driving in The Road to Indy.

“Mid Ohio is my number one track. I can’t wait to go to that one,” Kirkwood said. he also noted that the Lexington track is probably the best road course for the team.

“I just love driving that track” he said.

Kirkwood said Iowa was “a lot of fun to drive.”

Kirkwood thought the 500 pre race was “Amazing. I don’t think anything really compares to that. You sit on the grid, and I’ve never had that sensation of the crowd and the prerace ceremonies. I thought it was pretty big at St. Pete. Pretty much every other grid I go to will be less nerve wracking because of the experience I had at the 500.”

Kyle Kirkwood

Photo Gallery

Simona De Silvestro prepares to go on track
Pato O’Ward
Alexander Rossi
Devlin Defrancesco
Much of test days is sitting in the car