As the Crowd goes Wild for Jimmie Johnson…
This year’s Indianapolis 500 Rookie Class is comprised by seven talented Rookies, albeit two are in their second IndyCar season after foregoing Ovals last year. As Y’all can probably guess who’s the Biggest Star of this trio, Eh? Whilst the $64k Questione is How well do they Stack Up against Arguably the Greatest Indy 500 rookie Class of 1965?
#14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises
DOB: 10/19/98, Age: 23
This has to be my Odds On pick for Indy 500 Rookie Of the Year (ROY) Honours. As Kyle Kirkwood’s simply a Bad Arse Single Seater driver! As I cannot remember anyone who’s so thoroughly Dominated the Feeder Series ranks enroute to an fledgling IndyCar career!
Kirkwood’s rise is nothing short of Meteoric, having first heard of Kyle when He tied J.r. Hildebrand’s record of season wins as a Rookie in U.S. F2000 competition, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Kirkwood’s Championship series winning ways began by claiming the 2017 U.S. formula 4 title with nine wins from 21 races. Then in 2018, Kirkwood crushed the competizione in the then F3 americas Championship by claiming 15 of 17 race victories! Along with claiming that year’s U.S. F2000 title, taking 12 of 14 W’s.
For 2019 Kyle graduated to Indy Pro 2000 where He won the Championship with 9 of 16 race victories, before the 2020 Indy Lights Championship season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Then Kyle won the 2021 Lights title with 10 wins in 20 races, tying the late Greg Moore’s Lights record for victories! Becoming the first driver to win All three Road to Indy Championships as a rookie No less!
As Kirkwood racked up an Amazing tally of 55 wins from 88 Junior Series races enroute to Indy Cars!
While Kirkwood’s overall results at the forever struggling A.J. foyt Enterprises concern’s “Box Score” may not look that impressive, besides a solitary 10th place finish at Long Beach. Kyle’s impressed with Flashes of Brilliance nonetheless, moving steadily forwards in his one lone IndyCar Oval race before getting “Nudged” by Devlin DeFrancesco into the Wall! For which Kirkwood was overly diplomatic in Not Throwing his future Andretti Autosport teammate Underneath the Bus!
On an interesting Sidenote, Kirkwood lost out to former IndyCar Driver and 2019 Lights Champion Oliver Askew at the 2016 Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship shootout…
#18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports
DOB: 9/27/01, Age: 20
It appears that David Malukas began his Single Seater career in 2016 when contesting the Formula 4 UAE Championship, where He finished sixth. Then making the steps up the Road to Indy ladder system, once again finishing sixth in his first Indy Lights season in 2019.
David was the only other driver besides Linus Lindqvist to score wins in the 2020 FR Americas Championship, where He finished a distant runner-up to Lundqvist. Then a second season in Lights saw him winning six races enroute to finishing Runner-up to Kyle Kirkwood before stepping up to the big Cars this year.
Malukas has a best finish of 11th ironically at Texas Motor Speedway, his Big Carz’ Oval Debut. Which is Funny since All I remember about his race at TMS is that the team inexplicably brought him in just ahead of teammate Takuma Sato, then running third – who got Stuck behind Malukas who was suffering with Clutch issues All race long…
#48 Chip Ganassi Racing
DOB: 9/17/75, Age: 46
Seven times NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson needs No introduction, whom if I remember correctly? Is fourth overall for Top tier Roundy round victories with 83, predominantly on Ovals. Nope, had to look it up, He’s actually tied for sixth Overall…
Many are considering JJ’ to be the Second Coming who’ll “Walk On Water,” Err the Bricks once again this May! Which apparently is largely based upon his first IndyCar Oval race at Texas Motor Speedway where JJ’ ran as High as fifth before some IndyCar Driver named Scott Dixon passed him late on, with Johnson finishing a career Best sixth!
Hey, I’m very impressed what Jimmie’s doing in his second racing career and Admire him for his No Nonsense Rookie mentality, with No Big Ego showing. But I’m staying perched upon my short tree limb and still say Johnson Won’t win at Mother Speedway this May.