Kyle Kirkwood Fastest in Indy Lights Spring Training
By Christopher DeHarde
Like the sun rising in the east, it seems like an inevitability that Kyle Kirkwood would go fastest in Road to Indy Spring Training ahead of this coming weekend’s season-opening races on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Kirkwood drove his No. 28 Andretti Autosport Dallara IL-15 around the 2.21 mile road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1 minute, 14.3331 seconds to average 107.032 mph. The 2018 USF2000 and 2019 Indy Pro 2000 champion is looking to become the first driver to win championships on all three levels of the Road to Indy.
“It reconfirms that we have a good setup and that we’re strong,” said Kirkwood. “Everyone is close but it’s nice to go into St. Pete with some confidence. This year is so different from last year – I’ve had more testing this year than I’ve ever had, considering my deals the past two years came together at the last minute. I’ve had time to get to know the team and my engineer, Doug Zister, so everything feels good.
“I consider St. Pete my home race, but I’m not sure if it creates pressure to have so many of my friends and family there. It’s the best street course we go to and to race right downtown is very cool.”
Toby Sowery was second fastest in his No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing entry with a fastest lap of 1 minute, 14.4428 seconds. Sowery was third in last year’s Indy Lights title chase and was the only veteran in the top three.
“This year is so much better than last year,” said Sowery. “Last year, the deal came together so late, and after the first session we were a second off the pace. This year we led the first session without really going for it and when everyone went to the new tire, we were right there. So I’m feeling quite confident going into St. Pete. There were some nerves going into St. Pete last year, as I had never driven a street course, but I came back to take two podiums – but it was Belardi who beat us so this year should be even better.”
Rasmus Lindh was third fastest, also for Belardi Auto Racing. The Swede was runner-up to Kirkwood in both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 and is looking to bring home a $1 million scholarship to advance to the NTT IndyCar Series.
“I’m quite happy,” said Lindh. “I feel as though I’ve adjusted to the car after the Indy Pro 2000 car. Everything feels more proper: the brakes are better, there’s more downforce, so I thought the jump was fairly easy. Belardi always has a good car at St. Pete; they’ve won races there the past few years. It’s a good track to drive. You have to be very precise and that’s fun.”
The first Indy Lights on track action this year will be Friday, March 13th at 9:00 a.m. ET with a 30 minute practice session.