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Kirkwood holds off Grosjean for first IndyCar win at Long Beach · RaceFans

The 47th Grand Prix of Long Beach was the scene of the coronation of a new IndyCar Series winner – as Kyle Kirkwood, in just his third race for the Andretti team in his second season, held off Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson for his first career victory.

Kirkwood led the opening stanza of the race from pole position, ahead of Ericsson and Grosjean. There was a quick caution when Helio Castroneves clipped the inside kerb in the first corner of the first lap, and hit the wall. Castroneves somehow escaped with only damage to his front wing.

On lap 20, wheel-to-wheel contact between Scott Dixon and Pato O’Ward sent Dixon into the tyre barriers at turn eight and brought out a second full course caution. Josef Newgarden, who’d gained four positions on the opening lap, was running third when the caution came out – and a quick pit stop from his Penske crew sent him out just behind Kirkwood in net second position.

Agustin Canapino, one of the drivers that pitted during the caution, had taken the lead by staying out on track. But Canapino caught a blow from Castroneves which damaged his left-front suspension. Kirkwood got stuck behind Canapino’s wounded car in turn six and it allowed Newgarden to sail by easily on the faster alternate tyres.

O’Ward spun into the tyres at turn eight trying to overtake cars and dropped towards the rear of the field. Dixon retired after 37 laps with a mechanical issue.

Kirkwood got back into contention during the final round of pit stops. From second place he was successfully able to overcut Newgarden, who pitted on lap 52. Kirkwood stayed out two more laps and even after he caught some traffic in the last sector of his outlap, he was still able to exit the pits with the lead. Grosjean was able to jump ahead of Newgarden during the final pit cycle, which made it an Andretti 1-2.

Kirkwood and Grosjean ran first and second over the final 30 laps, both vying for their first win. But Kirkwood managed his final stint perfectly and kept Grosjean out of reach to record his first career win in the IndyCar Series – adding to his decorated CV which includes championships in all three rungs of the Road to Indy developmental ladder (USF 2000, USF Pro 2000, and Indy NXT) as well as the Formula 4 and Formula Regional Americas Championships, and even race victories in the IMSA Sportscar Championship.

Grosjean finished second, to repeat his best result from 2022 and secure a 1-2 finish from the Andretti team which had suffered a torrid start to 2023. It’s Grosjean’s fourth runner-up finish in IndyCar since his 2021 debut.

Ericsson used the pace of his last new set of primary tyres well at the end. He took third place and finished within a second of Grosjean on the last lap. This third-place run has moved Ericsson back into the championship lead, 15 points ahead of O’Ward, who finished a lap down in 17th.

Colton Herta finished fourth, putting three Andretti cars in the top five, while Alex Palou finished fifth. Will Power went from 13th on the grid to finish sixth, ahead of Felix Rosenqvist in seventh.

Marcus Armstrong was the top rookie in the race – he scored his first top-ten finish, in eighth, while Newgarden had to spend most of his final stint in heavy fuel conservation mode and slumped to ninth place at the end. Scott McLaughlin rounded out the top ten for Penske, who entered the day hoping to sweep the weekend as an organisation – after Penske gave the Porsche 963 its first sports car racing victory yesterday in the 100-minute IMSA race. Alexander Rossi was running inside the top ten but went off course during the penultimate lap, and was classified 22nd.

IndyCar returns in two weeks for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

Long Beach Grand Prix race results

Position Car Driver Team Engine
1 27 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Honda
2 28 Romain Grosjean Andretti Honda
3 8 Marcus Ericsson Ganassi Honda
4 26 Colton Herta Andretti Honda
5 10 Alex Palou Ganassi Honda
6 12 Will Power Penske Chevrolet
7 6 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren Chevrolet
8 11 Marcus Armstrong Ganassi Honda
9 2 Josef Newgarden Penske Chevrolet
10 3 Scott McLaughlin Penske Chevrolet
11 14 Santino Ferrucci Foyt Chevrolet
12 15 Graham Rahal RLL Honda
13 30 Jack Harvey RLL Honda
14 45 Christian Lundgaard RLL Honda
15 60 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Honda
16 29 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Honda
17 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren Chevrolet
18 51 Sting Ray Robb Coyne/RWR Honda
19 77 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
20 7 Alexander Rossi McLaren Chevrolet
21 18 David Malukas Coyne/HMD Honda
22 06 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Honda
23 20 Conor Daly Carpenter Chevrolet
24 55 Benjamin Pedersen Foyt Chevrolet
25 78 Agustin Canapino Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
26 21 Rinus VeeKay Carpenter Chevrolet
27 9 Scott Dixon Ganassi Honda


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