Kirkwood, Malukas, Lundqvist to test an INDYCAR at IMS on Friday, details on for who and timing of it all

INDIANAPOLIS — We all know of the scholarship program from the Road to Indy. $1.3-million was awarded to Kyle Kirkwood via his Indy Lights championship this past season which is good enough for three races in the NTT IndyCar Series in 2022 including the Indianapolis 500.

Kirkwood, is searching for a full-time ride and in fact will get a third test in the No. 26 Honda from Andretti Autosport on Friday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Another part of the Road to Indy awards is that the top three actually are funded for a test in an INDYCAR too. So, they’ll all get to cash in on that on Friday at Indy and have David Malukas and Linus Lundqvist join Kirkwood around the 2.5-mile track.

The test runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET on Oct. 29.

The combine test evaluating these NTT INDYCAR SERIES prospects is a reward for finishing in the top three positions in Indy Lights in the 2021 season.

Kirkwood and Lundqvist will share the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, with Lundqvist on track from 9 a.m.-noon and 2021 series champion Kirkwood turning laps from 2-5 p.m. Malukas will drive the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet from 1-4 p.m.

Kirkwood, won 10 times this past season including 14 top two finishes in 20 races. Malukas, won seven times and had 12 top two results. Combined, they went 1-2 seven times this past year with six of them over the final eight races of the year.

Lundqvist, won the other three races including bookending the year with a win in the season opener at Barber and the season finale at Mid-Ohio. His other win came on the IMS road course in May.

Andretti Autosport doesn’t want to get rid of Kirkwood despite not yet having a seat for him. Vasser Sullivan is said to be in the works too since he has a tie in with them via IMSA opportunities, so it would only make sense for him to shift over to VSR on an INDYAR endeavor should Andretti not be able to make it work.

But, Andretti is interested in an F1 program too and if they do and can make it work with bringing Colton Herta over, then Kirkwood makes the most sense to slide into that same No. 26 Honda he’s been testing. If it doesn’t work out, then maybe Andretti and Vasser-Sullivan team up on a fifth car.

That’s because word is Vasser-Sullvan is interested in expanding on their own in 2023 and may be leaving Dale Coyne Racing for as soon as now. DCR in return may team up with HMD to replace VSR which would then bring Malukas as their driver. He tested the No. 18 Honda in this same role at Barber on Monday.

Which is why this test for Malukas in a Penske car on Friday isn’t anything to look further at as Penske will scale back to three full time cars for 2022 and Malukas being likely with DCR in a partnership with HMD now.

On Saturday and Sunday, drivers from Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the first two rungs of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder system – Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – will test from 8 a.m.-5:15 p.m. during the annual Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test.

The two-day Chris Griffis test provides drivers with the opportunity to sample the Road to Indy machinery while building momentum for the upcoming season. It’s named in memory of Chris Griffis, the former team manager of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports who passed away suddenly in September 2011.

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