Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood showed a lot of promise at the Texas Motor Speedway oval in April and again in May at the Indianapolis 500, but quality finishes were derailed by contact in both races that weren’t a byproduct of driving errors.
Combine those two unrewarding outcomes with a rough introduction to IndyCar oval racing as a rookie last year with A.J. Foyt Racing, and the young Floridian had plenty of reasons to feel encouraged by his run to seventh on Saturday at Iowa, his best oval result to date.
The 2021 Indy Lights champion also led the entire Andretti team home, with stablemate Romain Grosjean the closest behind him, 17s back in 11th.
“We learned a lot just now,” Kirkwood said. “Felt like we had really good pace in the stints, which was something that I think was surprising for us. So we were a little bit different than our teammates, and I think we’re all able to build off of that, based on what my pace was, especially at the end