Sunday, May 28, 2023

Double Duty Kirkwood Quickest in First Practice from Detroit

Kyle Kirkwood stands on his team pit-box at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pit-road.
Kyle Kirkwood leads an NTT IndyCar Series practice for the first time in his career. Image courtesy of James Black / Penske Entertainment

Kyle Kirkwood opened up the Detroit Grand Prix fastest in the first practice session from the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

The 23-year-old Florida-native drove the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet around the 13-turn, 2.35-mile street course for a total of 20 laps with a session topping time of 1m16.1345s at 111.119 mph.

“I really like this place,” Kirkwood said, via Peacock. “It’s going well so far. The car was quick for Seb (Sebastien Bourdais) last year through the practices and qualifying as well. We kind of brought that same car, maybe a little bit of upgrades and yeah, it paid off I guess. Seems to be alright right now, we’ll see how this track evolves. Maybe it just depends what this place does, right?

“It always changes, street course, you never know. But right now we are feeling good, feeling confident, we felt confident coming into here. We’ve been solid at all the street courses so it’s nice to see our names at the top of the charts at least one time this weekend, hopefully we can continue that trait.”

Kirkwood is competing for two different teams in two different series at Detroit this weekend. In addition to competing in his rookie campaign in the NTT IndyCar Series, Kirkwood is also a part of the No. 17 Vasser Sullivan Lexus team on a part-time basis in IMSA.

Pato O’Ward was second fastest sitting 0.0211s behind his fellow series youngster. Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi wrapped up the session in third with a lap time of 1m16.5146s.

Simon Pagenaud slotted his No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda into fourth and last week’s Indianapolis 500 race winner, Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top five.

Colton Herta, Helio Castroneves, Scott McLaughlin, Romain Grosjean and Scott Dixon are the rest of the top 10. That makes seven Hondas and three Chevrolets in the first 10 positions.

For the beginning 20 minutes of the session, on-track activity was calm until Felix Rosenqvist had a shunt (Video Here) into Turn 1. The 30-year-old Swede was checked and released from the infield care center and will continue his driving duties this weekend.

Video: Rosenqvist Slides Into the Tire Barriers in Detroit First Practice

Rosenqvist’s incident was the only red flag of the 45 minute session.

Up Next: Practice 2 from the Raceway at Belle Isle Park is Saturday at 8:30 a.m. ET, live coverage on Peacock and IndyCar Radio.

Matt Narváez
Matt Narváez
Matthew is a NASCAR contributor apart of the team. A fan of racing since 2011, he has had passion for sports journalism since 2015 and is a current Mass Communications student at the University of South Florida.

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