Indy Lights Laguna Seca: Kirkwood takes Race 1 win, points lead

Andretti Autosport's Kyle Kirkwood wrested the Indy Lights points lead away from David Malukas with his eighth win of the season as the erstwhile championship leader could only finish fourth.

Indy Lights Laguna Seca: Kirkwood takes Race 1 win, points lead

Kirkwood made a perfect start from pole, holding off fellow front-row starter Linus Lundqvist (Global Racing Group w/HMD) who in turn fended off his championship aspirant teammate in the HMD Motorsports car, David Malukas. Behind them their other teammate Benjamin Pedersen took fourth ahead of Danial Frost (Andretti).

The other two Andretti cars, those of Devlin DeFrancesco and Robert Megennis banged wheels in Turn 4, with the latter falling off the track briefly and losing momentum. On Lap 2, Frost lost fifth to Rasmus Lindh in the Juncos Hollinger car, and Megennis would have to pit after five laps with possible suspension issues.

By then, it appeared Lundqvist had nothing for Kirkwood who held a 2sec lead, and Malukas was looking a tad antsy to get past his teammate and at least contain the damage of Kirkwood potentially winning the race. The Andretti driver, by earning pole position for both races, had already reduced Malukas’ points lead from five to three, and the HMD driver didn’t help his cause by running wide at Turn 4 into the sand on Lap 9, and losing third to Pedersen.

Halfway through the 30-lap race, Kirkwood’s lead over Lundqvist was 7.4 seconds, while Pedersen was a further 1sec down, and Malukas was struggling in his dirty air.

Then out came the full course yellow on Lap 18, as Christian Bogle’s Carlin car appeared to drop fluid and went off the track into Turn 2, and got buried in the sandtrap.

The Lap 22 restart saw Kirkwood get a good jump on Lundqvist, who kept Pedersen and Malukas in his mirrors, while Lindh retained fifth. DeFrancesco moved up to sixth after running his other teammate Frost wide to gain sixth place. That allowed Sting Ray Robb to move the second Juncos Hollinger car up into seventh, while Race Control gave DeFrancesco a five-second penalty to be added at the end of the race for jumping the restart.

It took just two laps for Kirkwood to stretch his lead to three seconds; three laps later it was 5.6sec, and entering the final lap it was 8.4sec! He almost made it look too easy, and Malukas’ teammates showed no sign of relinquishing their positions to aid his championship quest.

Lindh held on to fifth, while DeFrancesco’s penalty dropped him to ninth.

Kirkwood's lead is now eight points, with three races to go - one tomorrow at Laguna Seca, and Mid-Ohio double-header next month.

P

Name

Laps

FL

FTime

Diff

Led

ST

Team

I1

I2

I3

Points

1

Kyle Kirkwood

30

5

1:16.8764

LAP 30

30

1

Andretti Autosport

47.0723

31.8409

19.3954

456

2

Linus Lundqvist

30

3

1:17.1305

6.6515

 

2

Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports

44.9399

31.1464

18.1869

381

3

Benjamin Pedersen

30

4

1:17.0845

9.1243

 

4

Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports

42.5282

31.3085

18.1315

305

4

David Malukas

30

4

1:16.9491

9.7218

 

3

HMD Motorsports

43.4680

31.3019

18.1585

448

5

Rasmus Lindh

30

6

1:17.2401

12.0328

 

6

Juncos Hollinger Racing

29.4623

31.7830

18.2075

43

6

Devlin DeFrancesco

30

7

1:17.5344

12.4696

 

7

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

29.4141

31.4444

18.1974

284

7

Sting Ray Robb

30

9

1:18.1499

14.3389

 

10

Juncos Hollinger Racing

29.6435

31.2471

18.1437

205

8

Manuel Sulaiman

30

8

1:17.6826

15.4639

 

9

HMD Motorsports

29.5528

31.7696

18.1854

39

9

Danial Frost

30

6

1:17.5610

16.5291

 

5

Andretti Autosport

29.5036

31.6433

18.3343

284

10

Robert Megennis

26

5

1:17.8653

4 LAPS

 

8

Andretti Autosport

29.4524

31.2986

18.1905

270

11

Christian Bogle

16

6

1:18.3128

Off Course

 

11

Carlin

29.5707

31.4524

18.1930

197

 

 

 

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Portland Indy Lights: Kirkwood defies odds, defeats HMD trio
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