By: Ashley McCubbin
TORONTO, Ontario — Racing on the tight confines of downtown Toronto, there is bound to be contact, and that was the case for Kyle Kirkwood and Jimmie Johnson. Unfortunately, it resulted in Kirkwood failing to finish the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday.
“It didn’t play out well for me,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “We honestly haven’t been quick all weekend. We’ve been making set-up changes and what not trying to make this car faster. We got it a bit faster, but lost a little bit in the race and we were actually on a decent strategy with a decent amount of fuel and new tires compared to everyone else, and if it stayed green, we would’ve been looking pretty good.”
Looking to move his way forward on the grid, Kirkwood made the move on Johnson on Lap 58 of 85, when the pair made contact together.
“Unfortunately, I went to pass Jimmie and I don’t think he saw me – I was trying to get alongside of him, and he just went to the apex,” he continued. “He was just focused on the people ahead of him. I don’t blame him. I think it was more of a racing incident. It’s just unfortunate with how it ended.”
Entering the weekend, there were high hopes for Kirkwood based on previous success in Toronto in both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 coming up through the Road to Indy ranks.
“The last time I was here in 2019 was in an Indy Pro 2000 car, so it’s quite a bit different,” he admitted. “I think now the track has gotten bumpier than it has been, but yeah, it’s not a massive change. It’s just bigger, heavier car with a little bit more power and grip.”
Now in the midst of his first full season of NTT IndyCar Series competition, Kirkwood has scored a best finish of 10th, coming on the streets of Long Beach.
“I think we’ve had pace, but we just haven’t been able to show for it at all – not one single event,” he explained. “I think we’ve overachieved in the sense that we’ve been fast, faster than we should’ve been, but we’ve underachieved in getting the results that we want.”
Now heading into the second half of 2022, he says he’s focused on putting “the car where it deserves, and that’s up towards the front.”