DETROIT (June 4, 2022) — Hopes were high entering today after Kyle Kirkwood set quick time in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet in yesterday’s practice session at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
Unfortunately, a shunt into a tire barrier early in this morning’s practice caused by a mechanical issue, resulted in Kirkwood missing most of the practice session. He sustained a sprain to his right hand but was able to make it out for qualifying four hours later.
Kirkwood posted a lap time of 1 minute, 16.1255 seconds (111.132mph) and will start inside of row 8 alongside Will Power.
“It’s actually better than I thought,” Kirkwood said. “P 15. Pretty mid pack. We feel like we definitely should have made it into the Fast 12, maybe in the Fast Six, but we lost too much track time in practice 2. That was the unfortunate thing. And then we went into qualifying kind of blind, especially on the red tires. And that’s where we lost all the time. We were really fast on blacks and then went to the red alternate tire and we just didn’t get the speed that the other people did; they obviously had already ran reds [in the morning practice]. Disappointing, but on the bright side, the car’s really good on black tires, and that’s what this race usually is — a black tire race. So hopefully we can just move forward with that.”
Tatiana Calderón is back in the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet for the first time since her 15th place finish in the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. She timed in at 1 minute, 18.3657 seconds (107.955mph) and will start 24th alongside Graham Rahal.
“We’ve progressed in all the sessions,” Calderón shared. “It’s just quite difficult, like for example, free practice 2 we didn’t really have a clean sort of outing with all the red flags and people backing off in the last sector, so it was kind of unknown what we did for qually [qualifying] but I think we are making progress. Not as much as I would like to, but I think it will be a long race. A lot of yellows will be there probably. So we need to be there when it counts. And I’m happy with the changes we’re making for the warm up tomorrow.”
Dalton Kellett missed the qualifying session after sustaining heavy damage to the left side when he spun in this morning’s practice shortly after Kirkwood’s accident. He will start 25th in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet alongside Felix Rosenqvist.
“Tough day overall for the for the K-Line crew having a crash in practice this morning took us back,” said Kellett. “We weren’t able to get out for qualifying because we had to swap an engine and do substantial repairs to the car but we will be ready for tomorrow. It’s obviously unfortunate that we’ll be starting on the back row.
“I think we’ve been relatively happy with our cars here and I think we’ve always been pretty positive on our street course package. So we’re just looking at some data to figure out how we can maybe make the bump handling a little bit better. I think the issue that caught us out was going through the last corner I just caught a bump. Just caught it a little bit wrong at the apex, didn’t really get on the curb, but just at the worst moment tagged a bump and it just unloaded the rear axle and spun me and sent me in into the wall. We’re trying to look at how we can make that a bit more predictable for the race. I think you know you’re going to be in racing situations where you might be offline and all so we’ll try to make sure we have a kind of a predictable car for the long run.
“And that’s really what it’s all about tomorrow,” the Canadian continued. “Just making sure we’re getting to the first corner and being clean on the stops and taking advantage of opportunities. Tire degradation is going to be a factor. So definitely will try to keep those Firestone reds under us for whichever stint we’re going to run them. A 70-lap race, probably looking at two stops. If it goes green [all the way], we’ve got to manage the tires.”
Josef Newgarden won the NTT P1 award in the final seconds of qualifying for the NTT INDYCAR Series’ seventh round. Newgarden clocked a lap of 1 minute, 2153 seconds (112.477mph) around the 2.35-mile circuit to secure the pole for tomorrow’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. Takuma Sato will start second. Third through fifth are Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Pato O’Ward.
A 30-minute warm-up at 10:15 a.m. will give teams the chance to refine their race setups prior to the start of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix which will be broadcast on the USA Network starting at 3 p.m. ET.