Kyle Kirkwood Secures First IndyCar Win
Kyle Kirkwood, a young and talented driver, has taken his maiden IndyCar victory in impressive fashion at the Long Beach race. He led a remarkable 1-2 finish for Andretti Autosport, with Romain Grosjean finishing second.
Kyle Kirkwood, a highly skilled driver, secured his first-ever IndyCar triumph at Long Beach, finishing ahead of Romain Grosjean in a remarkable 1-2 victory for Andretti Autosport. Meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson claimed the top spot in the points standings with a podium finish. Initially, Josef Newgarden made significant progress and led the race during the middle portion.
However, his strategy of conserving fuel excessively destroyed his chances of winning. Newgarden impressively rose from eighth to fourth due to a perfectly timed start and utilized harder tires at the end of the stint, allowing him to surpass Grosjean and secure third place.
Pato O’Ward, who had been the previous championship leader, advanced two positions at the start and commenced the race on hard tires. However, he collided with Scott Dixon with a late move at Turn 8, resulting in a caution that Newgarden capitalized on by passing Ericsson in the pits and gaining another spot.
Agustin Canapino, a rookie driver, made an unconventional decision to stay out under caution after stopping on lap two, allowing him to take the lead. However, he ended up hitting the inside wall at Turn 6, forcing Kirkwood to take evasive action. This gave Newgarden the chance to make a quick move on the inside and take the lead, pushing ahead on his soft tires ahead of Kirkwood and Grosjean.
Despite being in the lead, Newgarden made a pit stop a lap before Grosjean during the last pit stop. He was then informed that he would need to save fuel excessively during the final stint, without any apparent explanation. Newgarden did not elaborate on what went wrong during his post-race interviews.
During the early final pit stop, Grosjean managed to pass Newgarden, but was subsequently overtaken by Kirkwood, who regained the lead. Kirkwood, who had won numerous junior championships on his way to IndyCar, appeared to be confident and secure in his position at the front of the pack. However, his ability to navigate the field during past races has been scrutinized.
In the latter part of the race, Grosjean hit the inside wall at Turn 2, which initially appeared to threaten his chances of winning. However, he managed to quickly close the gap to the front runners within four laps. Ericsson, on the other hand, had to fall back after taking evasive action to avoid O’Ward’s erratic move at Turn 8 earlier in the race, causing damage to his front wing.
As a result, Ericsson had to spend time recovering lost ground, but he managed to make up for it with a strong final pit stop and an impressive overtaking maneuver on Colton Herta, the 2021 Long Beach winner. Ericsson secured third place, although he had almost six seconds to catch up to the leaders.
Despite pitting a lap later than Grosjean, Ericsson managed to catch up to the leaders and make it a three-car race for the win in the last three laps. However, all three drivers had to be cautious in their use of the push-to-pass feature due to the fuel-saving tactics they had employed in the final stint. In the end, Kirkwood managed to hold on to the lead and win the race, followed closely by Grosjean and Ericsson. This was a significant victory for Andretti Autosport, marking their first win since the Indianapolis road course races in August 2022, and their first win outside of Indy since Herta’s triumph in the 2021 Long Beach race.
This victory marks the end of Andretti Autosport’s poor run in terms of finishes this season. Despite Grosjean having secured pole position in St. Petersburg, the team had only managed to secure one top 10 finish across all four cars in the first two races. Grosjean’s second-place finish at Long Beach provided much-needed points for the team, particularly after he was taken out while fighting for the win in St. Petersburg. Meanwhile, the current points leader Ericsson, who had won the St. Petersburg race, demonstrated his worthiness for the position by overcoming the trauma of his 2022 Long Beach crash.
Herta managed to secure fourth place after a relatively uneventful first stint. This was his first consecutive pair of top seven finishes across two races since 2021. Meanwhile, Alex Palou was in the top five early on, but he lost several positions during his first pit stop, dropping him outside the top 12. He spent the rest of the race fighting his way back up the field and ultimately finished in fifth place, rounding out a strong Honda-powered sweep of the top five.
Reigning champion Will Power and Felix Rosenqvist were the highest-placed drivers for the Penske and Arrow McLaren Chevrolet teams, respectively, after enduring their own eventful races. Marcus Armstrong was the top-performing rookie, having benefited from Alexander Rossi’s crash on the penultimate lap. It was a challenging day for the McLaren team, with O’Ward ultimately finishing in 17th place after being involved in two incidents.
Marcus Armstrong, who is only competing in the road and street circuits, managed to secure eighth place, beating the Penske duo of Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin. McLaughlin struggled with the softer tires towards the end of his stint. Meanwhile, Santino Ferrucci delivered AJ Foyt Racing their best result in quite some time by finishing in 11th place.
The winner of the 48th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach has been announced as Kyle Kirkwood, and below are the complete race results.
POSITION DRIVER TEAM ENGINE 1 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport Honda 2 Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport Honda 3 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 4 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport Honda 5 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 6 Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 7 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren Chevrolet 8 Marcus Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 9 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 10 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Chevrolet 11 Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet 12 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 13 Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 14 Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 15 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Racing Honda 16 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Autosport Honda 17 Pato O’Ward Arrow McLaren Chevrolet 18 Sting Ray Robb Dale Coyne Racing Honda 19 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet 20 David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing Honda 21 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing Honda 22 Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren Chevrolet 23 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 24 Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet 25 Agustin Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet 26 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 27 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Kyle Kirkwood IndyCar Win Long Beach 2023 Kyle Kirkwood IndyCar Win Long Beach 2023 Kyle Kirkwood IndyCar Win Long Beach 2023 Kyle Kirkwood IndyCar Win Long Beach 2023 Kyle Kirkwood IndyCar Win Long Beach 2023
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