Kyle Kirkwood is the only driver to win consecutive Road To Indy ladder series championships consecutively. He spent 2022 driving for AJ Foyt Racing where he had a best finish of 10th at Long Beach. This year he’s racing for Andretti Autosport and he started the year off qualifying in the Firestone Fast Six at St. Petersburg. At the 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, he qualified on pole and led 53 of the 85 laps to win his first-ever NTT IndyCar Series race. We had a chance to talk with him before his glorious weekend at the media luncheon on Thursday of race week. He talks about the changes going from last year’s team to this year’s team, driving styles with his teammate Colton Herta, and his preparation going into the Indy 500. Enjoy!

NOTE: Kirkwood traveled to Indianapolis after Long Beach and finished fourth on the speed charts out of 33 drivers that took to the track at the open test on April 20th.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2023 Larry Mason

Kyle Kirkwood found plenty of reasons to smile at the 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Here he’s making his way down the stairs just after driver introductions before the start of the race.

You don’t earn pole positions by only pushing 90 percent. Here in Turn 10, Kirkwood pushed just a wee bit over 100 percent and is slightly sideways.

What a beautiful Sunday drive through the scenic beach community. Here Kirkwood is on the eco-friendly Firestone green guayule alternate tires that are made from a desert shrub.

Kirkwood was inch-perfect hitting all his marks throughout the race as shown here at the Aquarium of the Pacific fountain (aka Turn 3). 

This is the view that most of Kirkwood’s competitors saw for 53 of the 85 lap race.

The thrill of victory! Imagine getting your first NTT IndyCar Series win at the biggest race outside of Indy. A place where team owner Michael Andretti also scored his very first and very last race win!

It’s only natural that a sea of humanity would surround Kirkwood and his team at the beach – Long Beach Victory Circle!

What do you do after you spray the champagne on the top step of the podium for the very first time? You go find your crew and bathe them in bubbly!

Interview and photos Copyright © by Larry Mason