St Petersburg Indy Lights: Kirkwood leads Andretti 1-2
Andretti Autosport scored an Indy Lights 1-2 on the streets of St Petersburg, as Kyle Kirkwood converted pole position into a dominant Race 1 victory – while it all was all action behind him.
From pole, Kirkwood led HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas – who won round two at Barber – into Turn 1, where Malukas locked up and allowed Devlin DeFrancesco to grab second place. Malukas continued to be wayward on the opening lap, suffering another big slide at Turn 4, before recovering his poise. Danial Frost led the chase, ahead of Robert Megennis.
Malukas began his attack to regain second from DeFrancesco on lap four, but this opened him to attack from Frost, who dived past at Turn 1 on Lap 5. Megennis then also barged his way past Malukas for fourth, the cars banging wheels at Turn 4, as the New Yorker temporarily made it an an Andretti Autosport 1-2-3-4.
Opening round winner Linus Lundqvist ran sixth and he also attacked Malukas, but his bid was rebuffed, which resulted in Carlin's Alex Peroni demoting Lundqvist to seventh.
As Kirkwood pulled out a 3s lead, Frost caught DeFrancesco. He made a bold bid to grab second on Lap 10, but outbraked himself by some margin at Turn 1.
Malukas passed Megennis at the final corner for fourth, before Megennis hit him for a second time at Turn 1, both cars just avoiding spins.
More Turn 1 action saw Lundqvist smash into Peroni – which sent aggressor Lundqvist into the pits, where his team promptly sent him back on his way. He finished ninth but has retained the championship lead.
Andretti’s potential 1-2-3 finish went south when DeFrancesco crashed out of second place with 12 laps to go, causing a full-course yellow and eradicating teammate Kirkwood’s 4s lead.
However, at the restart, with nine laps to go, Kirkwood sprinted away again to score his maiden series victory from Frost and Malukas. Megennis finished fourth, ahead of Peroni.
Firestone GP of St. Petersburg – the weekend schedule
St. Pete Indy Lights: Malukas holds off Kirkwood in Race 2