PLYMOUTH, Wisc — Kyle Kirkwood entered a very tight Indy Lights points standings third heading into the doubleheader weekend at Road America. He trailed Linus Lundqvist by just four points for the top spot. David Malukas was only one point out himself.
Danial Frost though won the pole for Saturday’s opening of two races this weekend at Road America while Malukas started alongside. Kirkwood was joined on Row 2 by his Andretti Autosport teammate of Devlin DeFrancesco giving AA three of the top four starters. Lundqvist was fifth.
Where this is relevant is, Malukas tried to make a pass on Frost on the opening lap in Turn 1 and caused both front row starters to go off course. Third place starter DeFrancesco had no where to go but into the runoff zone.
That allowed sixth place starter Toby Sowery to claim the lead on the opening lap. Lundqvist slid into second and even got by Sowery a couple of laps later. Kirkwood though settled into third and went by Sowery and set his sights set on Lundqvist after.
Kirkwood, passed Lundqvist on Lap 4 and would set sail on a season altering victory.
He’d never look back.
The American led 16 of 20 laps en route to his third straight win and fourth of the season. Kirkwood, won the USF2000 championship in 2018 and the Indy Pro 2000 title a year later in 2019. Now, he’s grabbed the Indy Lights points lead by eight with his victory on Saturday and looks to go 3-for-3 in the Road to Indy ladder.
Saturdays win was the 25th of his career in the ladder system, breaking a tie with Spencer Pigot for most all time. Five of those wins have been at Road America as he’s yet to be beaten here. He swept both weekends in USF2000 (2018) and Indy Pro 2000 (2019).
Kirkwood topped second place finisher Benjamin Pedersen by a wide 11.0667-seconds. Pedersen, came from his 10th starting spot to finish runner-up for his first top five result since a second place run in the season opener at Barber.
Robert Megennis was third in his No. 27 Andretti Autosport entry. He started eighth to score his first podium of the season. He moved into the final spot of the podium with a last lap pass of Lundqvist.
For Lundqvist, Saturday was his eighth top five in nine tries this season but just the second time in the last six races that he’s failed to get on the podium. Sowery, rounded out the top five in his No. 51 Juncos entry. Malukas, had to settle for seventh for his first finish outside of the top five since the season opener as well.
Alex Peroni was riding in the second spot for most of the race before his car quit on him late in the race.
Lundqvist is now eight points out while Malukas falls to -14. Sowery, is fourth at -55 while DeFrancesco is -77 in fifth heading into Sunday’s weekend finale.