Kirkwood’s First IndyCar Win


Photo Credit: Aaron Martinez

Kyle Kirkwood (#27) won the 48th Annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach from pole position. Romain Grosjean (#28) made it a one-two for the Andretti Autosport team and Marcus Ericsson (#8) arrived in third place on the podium in the NTT IndyCar series.

Kyle Kirkwood (#27) of Andretti Autosport won his first career NTT IndyCar Series Grand Prix on Sunday, April 16 in Long Beach, Calif. at the 48th Annual Grand Prix of Long Beach after starting on pole. His teammate Romain Grosjean (#28) battled with Kirkwood throughout the race earning Grosjean a second-place finish. He was about a second behind Kirkwood. New driver’s championship points leader Marcus Ericsson (#8) of Chip Ganassi Racing was two seconds behind Grosjean and placed third.

Former points leader Pato O’Ward (#5) of Arrow McLaren was involved in a controversy during the grand prix. During the race, O’Ward made contact with both Scott Dixon (#9) of Chip Ganassi Racing and Kirkwood. At turn five O’Ward drove into Dixon’s right side. Dixon would later retire from damages caused during this incident.

O’Ward would go on to dive into the rear of Kirkwood’s car at turn five resulting in O’Ward spinning out. He would quickly recover but would drop down from sixth to his eventual 17th-place finish.  “I’m disappointed in myself, I don’t have to be making those stupid moves,” said O’Ward. O’Ward’s incident derailed the race of other drivers as his car spun sideways and blocked the majority of the track.  “From my point-of-view, it was a low percentage move, and early in a race, a race start he was trying to overtake two or three cars in two corners and you know [it’s a] bad move. He could have taken out me and Kyle [Kirkwood] and Romain [Grosjean],” said Ericsson.

Andretti Autosport dominated as well, racing a 1-2 finish, and they had three of the top four finishing cars. Kirkwood won his first professional race since 2021 when he was competing in the IndyLights (Firestone Indy NXT) series. He also placed 10th at the Long Beach track just a season ago. “I mean that’s something (pressure) that was always tough to me… My seasons would always start rough like ‘man we’re at a real deficit here’ and once I got my first win we got some momentum and we would start winning more races and more races and more.”

Ericsson leads the driver’s championship in points and holds a 15-point gap lead over rival O’Ward. Alex Palou (#10) of Chip Ganassi Racing gained two positions in the standings and is now in third place after his fifth-place finish today.