Practice report

IndyCar Detroit: Kirkwood tops first practice for Foyt at Belle Isle

Reigning Indy Lights champion and recent Andretti Autosport hire Kyle Kirkwood secured AJ Foyt Racing top spot in first practice at Belle Isle.

Kyle Kirkwood, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

Before any car had turned a competitive lap, Kirkwood’s team-mate Dalton Kellett caused a red flag when his car ground to a halt in Turn 5, as an electrical issue within his steering wheel forced him to stop.

Kellett is already destined for a six-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change, since his Indy 500 race engine – which would normally be used in Detroit and beyond – was damaged in his shunt on Carb Day.

The early runners were inevitably the rookies, since they are granted an extra set of primaries to be used in opening practice. Helio Castroneves in the Meyer Shank Racing was also an early taker and he easily outpaced them all on the first runs.

Then with 25 minutes to go, a second red flew. Simon Pagenaud’s Meyer Shank car needed bump-starting from Turn 7’s runoff and had an engine issue. But Felix Rosenqvist triggered a long stopper with a crash at Turn 1, in which the Arrow McLaren SP tail kicked out on turn in, snagged the outside tyre wall with the left-rear and dragged the left-front in as well.

After the stoppage and with 16 minute to go, Pato O’Ward nailed a lap that finally displaced Castroneves from the top of the lap times – by just 0.0407s – producing a 1min16.7823s lap. Then he trimmed tenths off, landing a 1min16.1556s.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet

Photo by: IndyCar

At that point, his 2023 team-mate Alexander Rossi slotted his Andretti Autosport into second, 0.36s behind O’Ward, and just ahead of Pagenaud, whose MSR machine had recovered from its earlier issues and now sat just ahead of the sister car of Castroneves.

Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson then also pushed Castroneves down to fifth to become fastest Chip Ganassi driver.

With just three minutes to go, however, Kyle Kirkwood – who last year won both Indy Lights races at Belle Isle – sent his AJ Foyt Racing into top spot, with a 1min16.1345s lap.

That was good enough to keep him top by the finish, 0.0211s ahead of O’Ward, with Rossi, Pagenaud, Ericsson completing the top five.

Colton Herta eventually bumped his way into sixth but over half a second off Kirkwood’s pace-setting time, while Scott McLaughlin was fastest of the Penske trio, claiming eighth ahead of Romain Grosjean (Andretti) and Scott Dixon (Ganassi).

IndyCar Detroit - FP1 results

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 20 1'16.134    
2 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 13 1'16.155 0.021 0.021
3 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 14 1'16.514 0.380 0.359
4 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 13 1'16.617 0.483 0.103
5 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 14 1'16.657 0.522 0.039
6 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 16 1'16.699 0.564 0.041
7 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 17 1'16.823 0.688 0.123
8 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 19 1'16.955 0.820 0.132
9 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 19 1'17.027 0.892 0.072
10 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 13 1'17.144 1.009 0.117
11 Japan Takuma Sato United States Dale Coyne Racing 17 1'17.218 1.084 0.074
12 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 15 1'17.252 1.117 0.033
13 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 22 1'17.308 1.174 0.056
14 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 20 1'17.483 1.348 0.174
15 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 11 1'17.494 1.360 0.011
16 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 19 1'17.556 1.421 0.061
17 United States David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD 17 1'17.610 1.476 0.054
18 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 20 1'17.696 1.562 0.086
19 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 21 1'17.718 1.584 0.022
20 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 18 1'18.221 2.086 0.502
21 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 16 1'18.298 2.163 0.077
22 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 1'18.407 2.272 0.108
23 United States Santino Ferrucci Juncos Hollinger Racing 17 1'19.317 3.183 0.910
24 Colombia Tatiana Calderon United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 22 1'19.400 3.265 0.082
25 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 23 1'19.579 3.444 0.179
26 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 2 1'21.694 5.560 2.115
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