The day after his first pole position in IndyCar, Kyle Kirkwood was able to resist the pressure imposed by Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson to open his counter of victories at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Romain Grosjean will still have to wait to sign his first victory in IndyCar. After two first races concluded in frustration in St Petersburg then in Texas, the French driver was once again in the right car at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. While the start saw Helio Castroneves make a mistake and very quickly cause the first neutralization, the leading trio did not move one iota. The strategy was quickly dictated by the interventions of the safety car. While Scott Dixon crashed his car into the tire walls after contact with Pato O’Ward on lap 19, the peloton took the opportunity to dive into the pits… except for rookie Agustin Canapino. At this little game, Josef Newgarden was able to take the lead for a while but Kyle Kirkwood was able to quickly regain his advantage when Romain Grosjean moved back to third position. The leading trio Newgarden-Kirkwood-Grosjean then did not evolve until the second passage through the pits.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) April 16, 2023
Kirkwood didn’t lose his temper over Grosjean
The young American pilot has thus settled back in control ahead of the Frenchman and the American. However, the Penske driver soon got into trouble and couldn’t keep up, dropping down the standings to ninth. What made the game of Marcus Ericsson, who was able to settle in third place. The last third of the race saw the gap between the three leaders narrow little by little but no one took too many risks with fuel consumption to ensure they saw the checkered flag. At the end of the 85 laps in the streets of California, Kyle Kirkwood signs the first success of his career in IndyCar with less than a second ahead of Romain Grosjean, who thus offers a double to the Andretti Autosport team and climbs on the fifth podium in IndyCar. Winner of the Indianapolis 500 Miles last year, Marcus Ericsson took advantage of poor performances from Pato O’Ward, only 17th, and Alex Palou, fifth, to take the lead in the championship standings. The other Frenchman entered, Simon Pagenaud, could not do better than fifteenth.
INDYCAR / LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX
Final classification – 85 laps (269.154km) – Sunday April 16, 2023
1- Kyle Kirkwood (USA/Andretti Autosport) in 1h43’17”3748
2- Romain Grosjean (FRA/Andretti Autosport) at 0”9907
3- Marcus Ericsson (SUE/Chip Ganassi Racing) at 2”0588
4- Colton Herta (USA/Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian) at 7”6371)
5- Alex Palou (ESP/Chip Ganassi Racing) at 8”7770
15- Simon Pagenaud (FRA / Meyer Shank Racing) at 49”4864
Ranking of the drivers championship after 3 races (out of 17)
1- Marcus Ericsson (SUE/Chip Ganassi Racing) 110 points
2- Pato O’Ward (MEX/McLaren) 95
3- Alex Palou (ESP/Chip Ganassi Racing) 91
7- Romain Grosjean (FRA/Andretti Autosport) 71
23- Simon Pagenaud (FRA/Meyer Shank Racing) 33