Or will another Indy Lights Champion be left High ‘N Dry Kerbside…
So as they say, whomever “they” are? Let The Games Begin!
Nearly a Fortnight ago, 22yr old Floridian Kyle Kirkwood won the 2021 Indy Lights Championship for Andretti Autosport as a Rookie. Kirkwood did so impressively, equaling the late, Great Greg Moore’s single season tally of 10 wins during the 1995 Season.
Kirkwood is the first Road to Indy Graduate ever to win All three RTI rungs; the 2018 U.S. F2000, (12/14) 2019 Indy Pro 2000 (9/16) and 2021 Indy Lights Championships )10/20) as a Rookie No less! And he’s racked up an most impressive tally of 31 Wins out of 50 Races in those three series alone, Aye Karumba!
(Wins/Races Series Tally in Parenthesis)
So you’d naturally think it would be Automatic that he’ll be racing Fulltime in Indy Cars next year, Righto? Not so fast, even though his Boss Mikey A’ says he’s really Keen to Keep Him. Uh Duh, No shit Sherlock!
Yet currently Andretti Autosport theoretically already has a Full House, with Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean announced. While we’re All Ah-Waitin’ Breathlessly the confirmation of fellow Indy Lights Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Rookie Devlin DeFrancesco, who finished a distant sixth Overall to be the new Chauffeur of the team’s No. 29 entry next year.
As DeFrancesco finished as the Meat in an Andretti Sandwich with fellow team-mates Danial Frost 5th and Robert Megennis P7. With Devlin finishing 211 points adrift of Kirkwood and the team’s third placed Rookie behind Kirkwood and Frost…
My initial thought was that Kirkwood could become Top Jimmy’s (Vasser) and James Sully’ Sullivan’s future IndyCar team driver after spending his Debutant IndyCar season at Thar Dale Coyne Racing Co-Op? but obviously Michael Andretti won’t wish to let go of such a gifted driver, especially to a rival team, Righto!
As I just logically made this “conclusion” due to the fact that Kirkwood’s been racing in IMSA Sports Cars for Vasser Sullivan Racing’s (VSR) Lexus GT Daytona team during Endurance races recently. But I’m not so Hot upon this scenario anymore, since I doubt that Vasser and Sullivan want to train him just for a single season, if they truly decide to start their own IndyCar team in 2023?
Since if we’re All ah-Drinkin’ Ye Kool Aid over Toyota becoming IndyCar’s third engine manufacturer, and I’m reading thoust Tea leaves correctly? As Thar just so happens to be a Jimmy Vasser Toyota of Napa Dealership, not to mention Vasser and Sullivan run the Factory Lexus RC F GT3 Squad and Viola! Why wouldn’t they be the Japanese Auto Manufacturer’s Kickoff IndyCar team? Which surely Andretti and Honda would be loathe to lose him to a rival Manufacturer…
Thus, a more likely scenario to me now tends to be that Kirkwood could fill the vacant “lead” #51 Coyne-Ware Racing entry, (CWR)As Vanna, I wanna buy a Vowel! Since I’m getting extremely tired of typing out Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing! With Kirkwood on “loan” instead from Andretti Autosport, who could sweeten the pot by including a talented Engineer to Boot. Since Romain Grosjean’s CWR Engineer Olivier Boisson is also moving to Andretti with him next year.
Although Scuttlebutt still suggests that Takuma Sato is the most likely candidate for this seat next year, due to his strong, longtime Honda backing. Although Dale Coyne’s gotta be enjoying everybody trying to guess what He’ll do next year?
Then possibly a seat would open up in 2023 either at Andretti Autosport or Gasp, Meyer Shank Racing, (MSR) since I think Rossi’s contract expires next year? And if Rossi has a third unfulfilling season with Mikey A’, who knows what will happen? Even though I want Rossi to finally win a Championship, it’ll be tough Sledding next year.
Meanwhile, how much longer will MSR wish to keep an extremely long in the Tooth Helio Castroneves? Since after all, they are an Andretti Affiliated team, and I’ll go out on another tree branch and predict Hulio’ will Not be successful in his vaunted “Drive for Five.”
Obviously the easiest move would be for Andretti Autosport to restart Marco’s defunct fifth team entry next year. Yeah, I know, it’s All about that Budget thingy’.
But didn’t Marco somewhat Quit his Fulltime drive due partially to missing the cut on the 2021 IndyCar Leaders Circle Fund? Which Kirkwood is guaranteed to bring his $1.3m (Million) Indy Lights prize fund to whomever next season, which I believe is more than the Leaders Circle Fund pay out.
As I know that winning the Lights Championship doesn’t Guarantee you a Full season ride in Indy Cars anymore, if it ever did? But it’ll truly be a Crime if Kyle Kirkwood doesn’t get to compete for IndyCar rookie Of the Year next season in a Fulltime ride!
Having just completed his Debutante IndyCar test outing at Sebring’s Short course alongside Devlin DeFrancesco, it sounds like Kirkwood was Quick immediately and is still Miles Ahead of DeFrancesco…
And I really Don’t like the idea of Michael Andretti keeping him on “Ice” next year by “Squirreling” Kyle away in some other series like Gasp, Formula E. Or even worse yet, either in Andretti Autosport’s Extreme E or IMSA LMP3 programmes.
And please do Not even Hint at Formula 1 if Mikey A’ does really become Alfa romeo’s largest Shareholder, ACK! Since I’m 98% certain that Kirkwood Doesn’t have the required Points for an FIA Superlicense.
As Kirkwood’s simply too talented to not be given the Ful Season IndyCar seat he Deserves next year, and it’ll absolutely be a Crime if He doesn’t land a Fulltime Gig’ for 2022! Or has his chance to Bag Rookie of the Year Honours whenever possible…