NEWTON, Iowa (July 24, 2022) — The Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 at Iowa Speedway is one race that the AJ Foyt Racing team would like to forget.
Rookie Kyle Kirkwood, who started 20th in the second race of the doubleheader, was optimistic about his chances in the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet. He was running 17th on the seven-eighths mile banked oval when his race ended against the Turn 1 wall on lap 120. Kirkwood had just been passed by leader Josef Newgarden and Rinus Veekay who was fighting to stay on the lead lap. Diving low, Veekay made it three-wide as all headed towards Turn 1 with Kirkwood on the outside. As a result, Kirkwood entered too high and hit the marbles and he slid hard into the Turn 1 wall sustaining considerable damage to the car but fortunately he escaped injury.
“I’m not really sure at the moment [on what happened],” said Kirkwood as he emerged from the infield care center. “I’ll have to really look into it to really know. It just felt like Rinus (VeeKay) put us three-wide into there and I was just stuck out into the marbles from the start of the turn-in and then went wide into the wall. The car just didn’t turn from my point of view. It is what it is.
“It’s super-unfortunate the way it turned out because I thought we were having a pretty good race compared to yesterday,” the 23-year-old American continued. “At least we were making improvements that entire race. We were getting better and better and making passes happen. It was an unfortunate situation for myself where it almost felt just like something let go and I went straight off into the wall. Here on entry, I just turned and there was nothing there. I’ll be scratching my head because we damaged that side of the car but yeah, it’s just unfortunate.”
Kirkwood placed 25th.
Starting 26th, Dalton Kellett was having a good race in his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet when he entered his pitbox too fast and too close to the wall. He struck Chris McFadden, the rear inside tire changer, who sustained a leg injury. McFadden was taken by ambulance to MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines for further evaluation. Kellett was assessed a stop and hold penalty — a 30-second hold in his pit. The penalty cost him four positions; he finished 22nd.
This pit stop went smoothly.
After checking on McFadden in the infield car center, Kellett summed up his day.
“Overall, I think we made the race car better today from where we were yesterday. That was a good
step. Was running p18, having made up some good spots on track and just getting some clean air and running hard. I was really happy with that. On the last pitstop, I came in a little hot and just didn’t get it down into neutral quick enough and had an issue grabbing the clutch pedal given the angle going into the box and tagged a couple of the crewmen, just went long. So you know, really feel bad for those guys. It’s part of the job but it’s never easy when someone else has to pay for your mistake. So feel really bad for Chris and Shelby [Tracey]. Chris has got an injury to his leg. He’s gonna have to get evaluated at the hospital and he’ll be sidelined for bit but I know he’s a strong and fit guy. He’ll bounce back and be ready to go in no time. But like I said, really sorry to the number 4 K-Line pit crew. You never want to have a race car pinching you between the wall.
“Otherwise, I think we ran a good race, car felt racy, little bit of inconsistency on the balance. Set to set was a bit of a question mark. I think we were shy on COP to begin with and then corrected that and then car felt really hooked up after we put some wing in. Then on the last set of tires, some understeer came back in so we’ll just kind of look at that. But with the penalty from the long stop, we lost three or four spots. Sad to throw that away because we obviously need the points but still it shows that we can be racy on the short ovals.”
Pato O’Ward took the lead when Josef Newgarden crashed in Turn 4 on lap 235. O’Ward went on to win the race. Second through fifth were Will Power, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Dixon and Jimmie Johnson, who posted a career-best finish in the NTT INDYCAR Series.
The teams head to Indianapolis this week for the Gallagher Grand Prix at the IMS road course. Practice and qualifying will be streamed on Peacock Premium on Friday, July 29, at 9:30 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET respectively. The race will be broadcast live on NBC on Saturday, July 30, starting at 12:00 p.m. ET.