Detroit Indy Lights: Kirkwood wins again, closes title fight

 Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood delivered a perfect drive from third on the grid to sweep the weekend in Indy Lights and move to within four points of championship leader Linus Lundqvist.

Detroit Indy Lights: Kirkwood wins again, closes title fight

Race 1 winner Kirkwood, who started from third, immediately sliced his Andretti car past front-row starter David Malukas of HMD Motorsports into Turn 1 at the drop of the green and started hunting down pole-winner Linus Lundqvist.

On the run down to Turn 6 on Lap 2, Kirkwood made his move on the leader and hit the front.

Danial Frost ran fourth in the second Andretti car but had already dropped two seconds to the top three, and Toby Sowery pounced on him on Lap 3 to grab fourth place for Juncos Racing.

Although Kirkwood pulled a one-second lead, the battle for second between teammates Lundqvist was not hindering the pair from keeping well in touch. Devlin de Francesco passed Robert Megennis (both Andretti cars) on Lap 5, leaving him to fend off the Carlin car of Alex Peroni and Benjamin Pedersen in another HMD machine. However, Peroni brought out a full-course caution on Lap 8 when he tried to pass Megennis around the outside of Turn 3 and made heavy contact with the tire wall.

The race restarted on Lap 12, and the drivers remained well behaved into Turn 1, but Sowery was all over Malukas for third, while Frost was struggling to hold off teammate DeFranceso. But it was Sting Ray Robb who made the most progress, passing Pedersen at the restart and then Megennis one lap later.

Up front, Kirkwood was now gapping the GRG/HMD car of Lundqvist, as the Swede again had his mirrors full of Malukas, with Sowery poised just about hanging on, waiting to take advantage of any momentum loss between the pair. On Lap 17, Pedersen finally demoted Megennis at Turn 1, but was already 5sec behind Robb’s Juncos car. On Lap 22, Megennis lost a spot to the second Carlin car of Christian Bogle, who’d taken advantage of the earlier caution to take on a set of new Cooper Tires.

By Lap 22 of the 30-lap race, Kirkwood’s lead was just under 2.5sec, while Lundqvist had a little more breathing room having pulled a second on Malukas. But Lundqvist set his fastest lap of the race thus far on Lap 25, to chip the gap to Kirkwood under 2sec.

That became irrelevant on Lap 26 when Frost had a hand knocked off the steering wheel by a bump at Turn 11, and understeered into the tire wall, promoting DeFrancesco, Robb and Pedersen into fifth, sixth and seventh.

Frost’s wreck was cleared in time to allow a one-lap sprint to the finish, and Lundqvist was all over Kirkwood through Turn 1 but the Andretti driver hugged the middle line, got through Turn 2 better and was able to pull away again, to take his second win of the weekend by 1sec, ahead of the two HMD cars, Sowery and DeFranceso.

Robb lost out at the second restart, getting jumped by Pedersen, Bogle, Megennis and Nikita Lastochkin.

The result leaves Lundqvist leading the championship by just one point over Malukas and four over Kirkwood.

P

Name

FL

FTime

Diff

Gap

Led

ST

Status

Team

I1

I2

I3

Points

1

Kyle Kirkwood

26

1:21.6725

LAP 30

 

29

3

Active

Andretti Autosport

37.1478

31.3034

15.8641

187

2

Linus Lundqvist

25

1:21.6108

1.0547

1.0547

1

1

Active

Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports

37.9686

31.5995

15.7136

191

3

David Malukas

26

1:21.4559

1.4701

0.4154

 

2

Active

HMD Motorsports

38.2303

31.5694

15.6615

190

4

Toby Sowery

23

1:21.6831

1.9956

0.5255

 

6

Active

Juncos Racing

38.4901

31.5599

15.6066

146

5

Devlin DeFrancesco

25

1:22.6110

3.0804

1.0848

 

9

Active

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

38.8208

31.8073

15.8420

130

6

Benjamin Pedersen

22

1:22.2903

3.5231

0.4427

 

7

Active

Global Racing Group wHMD Motorsports

38.9464

31.8552

15.7278

113

7

Christian Bogle

25

1:23.3165

5.6553

2.1322

 

12

Active

Carlin

39.0047

32.8958

16.3046

81

8

Robert Megennis

24

1:23.3579

6.6593

1.0040

 

4

Active

Andretti Autosport

40.2009

32.4335

16.3573

109

9

Nikita Lastochkin

22

1:22.9837

6.9925

0.3332

 

10

Active

HMD Motorsports

40.1098

32.5623

16.1340

85

10

Sting Ray Robb

24

1:22.8464

8.3603

1.3678

 

11

Active

Juncos Racing

42.0657

33.2639

16.1484

94

11

Antonio Serravalle

21

1:24.5137

9.1177

0.7574

 

13

Active

Pserra Racing

40.7615

33.5278

16.3138

83

12

Danial Frost

23

1:22.2244

Contact

9.7164

 

5

Contact

Andretti Autosport

36.3242

30.7969

15.2721

119

13

Alex Peroni

7

1:23.8890

Contact

0.1362

 

8

Contact

Carlin

36.8617

31.4845

15.5428

128

 

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