Kirkwood pleased with how car feels heading into Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, my feature on him

INDIANAPOLIS — Kyle Kirkwood already knocked out his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES win. That occurred last month in the prestigious Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Now, can his second career win come in the biggest race on the motorsports calendar?

Kirkwood feels so.

“Yeah, we felt really good every time we’ve been in race trim,” he says. “Not so much on Monday compared to last week. But I think we have answers for that.

“I feel like we’ve got a really solid current race car. I’m not sure where we’re at pace and qualifying went, we kind of felt like we were solidly in top 12 And that we’d be running on Sunday. But obviously things kind of flip flopped on on Saturday. So bit unexpected. But ultimately, we executed really well on Saturday. And we’ve got a good race car. So 15th isn’t the worst place to be starting.”

Kirkwood says that while in year’s past it was hard to pass here midpack on, he feels like his car is dialed in enough to still pass people in Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network).

“I mean, last year, I moved forward, I went from 27th to wherever I qualified, I was like in 31st in the first couple laps, and I made it up to nearly the top 10 at one point and then we had a slow pitstop that cycles back to 22nd,” he said. “Then I finished 16th or 17th, wherever it was. So you can still pass you just got to be calculated with it.”

He notes that Alexander Rossi, in this very car, went from 25th to fifth a year ago. He would know because he’s in that car now and watched has recently went back and rewatched last year’s race to see if he did anything special.

Rossi didn’t.

Kirkwood said that if you make calculated moves and just cycle forward each stint, then you’ll be alright so long as you’re smart.

He’s a smart driver. He’s won a championship in everything that he’s ever driven. He’s the all-time wins leader in the Road to Indy (31). Now, can his first two wins come in Long Beach and Indy?

I truly believe so.

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