Home Featured Kirkwood beats Malukas at Portland after double pass for lead

Kirkwood beats Malukas at Portland after double pass for lead

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood took a crucial Indy Lights win at Portland, setting it up by overtaking front row starters David Malukas and Linus Lundqvist with one move.

Malukas (HMD Motorsports) and Lundqvist (Global Racing Group with HMD) started on the front row and battled in the opening stages. Lundqvist was the only frontrunner starting the race on new tyres.

As the duo came onto lap two, they were squabbling between themselves at the tight first turn, allowing Kirkwood to cut outside of both through the second corner for the lead.

From there, he opened up a 1.5-second lead to Malukas and was able to control the race, eventually opening that gap up to 2.5 seconds. As a result, he was able to claw back slightly into Malukas’s points lead.

There was little action outside of lap one, which itself was calmer than Saturday’s race as all 11 cars made it round the first turn without running wide.

However, HMD newcomer Manuel Sulaiman launched over the top of Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Sting Ray Robb, ending the race of the latter and also forcing the second Juncos entry of Rasmus Lindh into the pits for repairs.

The only other battle in the race was a long scrap between Andretti Autosport stablemates Devlin DeFrancesco and Danial Frost over sixth.

Frost had the pace advantage, but it took until lap 23 of 30 before he was able to work his way by. Andretti Steinbrenner entry DeFrancesco was able to keep with him but was unable to make his way back through.

Behind Kirkwood and Malukas, Lundqvist rounded out the podium ahead of GRG with HMD team-mate Benjamin Pedersen.

Andretti’s Robert Megennis headed home his team-mates Frost and DeFrancesco, with Carlin’s Christian Bogle eighth and last of the unhampered runners.

Lindh was ninth with fellow weekend debutant Sulaiman 10th and a lap down.

Robb was able to continue but was 12 laps down after extensive repairs to the rear of the car.

Race results (30 laps)
Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 32m32.0607s
2 David Malukas HMD Motorsports +2.5623s
3 Linus Lundqvist Global Racing Group w/HMD +4.9886s
4 Benjamin Pedersen Global Racing Group w/HMD +7.4706s
5 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport +14.8848s
6 Danial Frost Andretti Autosport +16.0566s
7 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosporr +19.3436s
8 Christian Bogle Carlin w/ JHDD +39.3484s
9 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing +51.4252s
10 Manuel Sulaiman HMD Motorsports +1lap
11 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing +12 laps
Fastest lap: Pedersen, 1m04.3166s

Championship standings
1 Malukas 429   2 Kirkwood 424   3 Lundqvist 356   4 Pedersen 283   5 Frost 272   6 DeFrancesco 269   7 Megennis 259   8 Toby Sowery 236   9 Alex Peroni 228   10 Robb 191