Rookie Kirkwood Drives Foyt Team to the Top of Detroit Practice

Rookie Kirkwood Drives Foyt Team to the Top of Detroit Practice

An important off-track week for Kyle Kirkwood extended to more good news Friday on the track at the Belle Isle Raceway.

NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Kirkwood was the fastest driver under a sunny sky on Friday afternoon in opening practice for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, setting a best lap of 1 minute 16.1345 seconds in the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ FOYT RACING Chevrolet . The industry-leading achievement – the first time Kirkwood or any Foyt driver has led a session this season – came just two days after Andretti Autosport announced that Kirkwood will replace 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi in the #27 AutoNation Honda of the team from 2023 season.

TO SEE: Practice results

This was Kirkwood’s second session today on the temporary street circuit of 14 turns, 2.35 miles. He was also the fastest driver in the GTD class in practice two for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, as Kirkwood has double duties this weekend.

Kirkwood’s speed in both machines shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as he won both Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races at Belle Isle this past June en route to the 2021 series championship.

“I think I really like this place,” Kirkwood said. “Things are going well so far. The car was also fast for Seb (Bourdais) during practice and qualifying last year. We (Foyt team) took about the same car, maybe a little bit of upgrades. It paid off.

“We’ll see how the track evolves. It can always change like a street course. You never know. But right now we feel good, we feel confident. We’ve been solid on all the street courses. It’s nice to see our name at the top of the charts.”

Gainbridge-presented Indianapolis 500 runner-up Pato O’Ward finished in the same position today with a top lap of 1:16.1556 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Rossi, announced Thursday as O’Ward’s new Arrow McLaren SP teammate from 2023, finished third with 1:16.5146 in the No.27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda.

Simon Pagenaud was fourth at 1:16.6177 in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda, as newly crowned Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top five at 1:16.6574 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, despite a busy week of media and publicity work following its rousing Indy win, including a whirlwind promotional tour of New York City on Tuesday.

Ericsson and O’Ward also picked up where they left off last year, as they were the winners of the 2021 doubleheader event. This year’s event – the last on Belle Isle before the race moves to downtown Detroit in 2023 – is a single race Sunday, with live coverage starting at 3 p.m. (ET) on USA Network, Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

The Saturday action kicks off with practice at 8:30am followed by the NTT P1 Award qualifier at 12:35pm

There was one incident during the 45-minute session on Friday. Felix Rosenqvist slid through Turn 1 and hit the tire barrier with his No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, inflicting moderate damage on the left side of the car. Rosenqvist was unharmed.

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