Kirkwood soars to Long Beach pole

Kyle Kirkwood pulled a last lap flyer to claim his first NTT IndyCar Series pole for the 48th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The 24-year-old Floridian gambled in Q2 by utilizing a used set of Firestone rubber to break into the Firestone Fast Six while the balance of his rivals used fresh rubber to complete the session. The bet allowed Kirkwood a set of alternate Firestone tires for the six-minute pole determining session.

The Andretti Autosport driver responded by scorching the 1.98 mile street circuit in 1 minute 06.2878 seconds to take his first pole in his 20th career start.

Marcus Ericsson matched his career best IndyCar start with the second quickest lap of the session. Romain Grosjean will line up behind his Andretti teammate in third with Alex Palou ending up fourth.

2015 Long Beach winner Scott Dixon completed the top five while Pato O’Ward ended a dramatic session in sixth place. The series points leader paced he balance of Q2 before a red flag truncated the session.

Colton Herta recovered from a penalty early in the session to land up seventh while Josef Newgarden ending up eighth.

Scott McLaughlin and Felix Rosenqvist complete the top ten.

A handful of notable names found themselves buried in the field. Two time Long Beach winner Will Power just missed the cutoff and ended up 13th. The Meyer Shank Racing teammates of Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud also failed to advance and will line up 14th and 16th.

David Malukas’ suffered the first shunt of the session in Q1 when he walled in Turn 4. The impact significantly damaged his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorports Honda and relegated the IndyCar sophomore to start 26th.

Marcus Armstrong also faced the tire barriers late in Q2 which demoted the Chip Ganassi Racing driver to 12th in his foray at Long Beach.


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