Notes: Gallagher Grand Prix

Pete Drummond was born and raised in Indianapolis which is where he currently lives. The 22-year-old is currently a senior studying for a degree in Motorsports Engineering at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He currently works on the front end of the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet and handles the airjack on pitstops. We asked him a few questions…

How did you get interested in racing?

PD: “Growing up my family did not come together for Christmas or other holidays but we all came together in Indianapolis for the Indy 500. The month of May was always important to me and my family. I went to as many races as I could when I was young and always wanted to get involved as I grew older. The first race I attended was an Indy car race in 2005 at Kentucky Motor Speedway.”

When did you get your start in racing and when did you start working for our team?

PD: “I began working in racing in 2018 as a mechanic for an F4 team and while also working for a few teams in the Road to Indy. In 2020, I worked the Harvest GP on Dalton Kellett’s car as a tire handler. The following year I began working full time with the team beginning with the Indy 500.”

What gives you the most satisfaction from the job?

PD: “I think the most satisfying part of my job is when the fans are up close to the car and are excited to see the car and ask questions about it. I am lucky to do what I do and it feels rewarding when people are impressed with the car because I know the hard work I had to put in to make it look and perform as well as it does.”

What are your career goals?

PD: “Even though currently I am a mechanic as well as take classes in engineering school, one day I want to be in a team management role.”

Drummond handles the Airjack (at rear of car) for Dalton Kellett.

What is your favorite Track?

PD: “Sebring because of its history, I’ve enjoyed some of the smaller races there and I like testing there with the Indy car–and it’s in the middle of Florida!”

What is your favorite race (if Indy, what is your second favorite)?

PD: “Other than the Indy 500 my favorite race is Long Beach. I enjoy the area and the fact that the track is near the water. It’s just a fun race.”

What is your most memorable moment so far?

PD: “The most memorable moment of my career currently has to be when JR (Hildebrand) qualified for the Indy 500 in 2021. When he crossed the yard of bricks, I knew we were in the show and that was a big moment for me. “

At Indy in 2021, Drummond is guiding J.R. Hildebrand’s car after he qualified for the 500.

“I remember getting a hero card from him when I was a kid. So it was awesome to work on his car as the first time I worked on an indycar as a mechanic.”

If you didn’t work in racing, what would you do?

PD: “If I did not work in racing I would have liked to work on fighter jets–either as a mechanic or as an engineer designing them.”

What is the hardest part of the job?

PD: “I think the hardest part of the job has to be mid-season when you are worn out but still have to meet tight deadlines and be ready for anything.”

Drummond helps run a karting team in his spare time.

What do you like to do outside of racing?

PD: “Outside of racing I enjoy helping run a Karting team as well as racing karts myself. When not at a race track, I enjoy working on projects around the house or on my car and spending time outdoors.”

Pete took in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park with his brother Joe and sister Liz in 2019.

What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

PD: “The best advice I have gotten that applies to this job and life is to always listen and be willing to try something new. You can always learn something from anybody. ”

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

PD: “1 – Win an Indy 500; 2 – Participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans; 3 – Win an INDYCAR race.”

DALTON KELLETT is coming off a tough couple of weekends but he is looking to rebound here at his other “hometown track” as a resident of Indianapolis. Kellett moved from his native Toronto to Indianapolis in 2015, the summer after he graduated from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. Last year, he bought his first house in Indianapolis.

“I’m really excited to be back at IMS. You know it’s a back-to-back weekend of exciting racing action for

IndyCar fans and NASCAR fans this weekend with the doubleheader. Really looking forward to being there and just being part of that big show. You know, it was a great event last year so I’m really happy to see that continuing. The overall trend this year is that our street course cars have been a little bit stronger than our road course car with that road course Firestone tire being a little bit different. So, we’re still trying to work that out. We think we’re on the right track, but again, we’ll have to get on track and see how everything shakes out. I’m really happy to be back racing at IMS and hoping for a good weekend for the No. 4 K-Line group.”

Kellett Fast Facts: Age 28…Born in Toronto, Canada and lives in Indianapolis…Became engaged to Nicole Westra and they plan to wed on New Year’s Eve…Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics in 2015…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf. For the technically curious, Kellett posts TikTok videos (@dalton_kellett) about the race car labeled “Indy Mondays” with subjects ranging from the steering wheel to the weight jacker to cold tires.

KYLE KIRKWOOD is looking to capitalize on is experience gleaned from running the IMS road course in May. It will be the first time he will have race experience in an Indy car on a road or street course having raced on the track in May.

“So going back to Indianapolis. I think we had a fairly good test there between the last race and now and we were able to make some gains definitely on the car and setup. We’ll see how we stack up there. We’re coming off a bit of a hectic weekend between starting from the back in two races, crashing in one of them and finishing 15th which was a decent finish I felt. We’ll see exactly what we learned from our tests because we felt pretty strong at the end of it. Hopefully, fingers crossed, we have some good finishes there.”

Kirkwood Fast Facts: Age 23…Born in West Palm Beach, and lives in Jupiter, Florida… Only driver to win championships in all three divisions of the Road to Indy ladder system…Began racing karts at age 5…Won the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 title (12 wins in 14 races) and won 15 of 17 races to claim the F3 Americas Championship…Won the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with nine victories and five poles in 16 races (RP Motorsports)…Won the 2021 Indy Lights championship with 10 victories and seven poles in 20 races (the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic). Enjoys surfing, deep-sea fishing, diving and golf.

Chris McFadden Update: McFadden, the inside rear tire changer who was injured in a pit lane accident at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, stopped by the team’s race shop in Indy on Wednesday. He is aiming to be back in action for the final race of the season in Laguna Seca, Calif. It will depend on the progress he makes in the next 10 days as to when he can start seriously training. He plans to be at the Nashville race as an observer.

Past Performance: Kellett’s best finish at the IMS road course is 20th in May, 2021. Kirkwood finished 26th after being tagged from behind and knocked out of the race. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start on the IMS Road course is fourth with Jack Hawksworth in 2016 and their best finish is fourth with Matheus Leist in 2019. In both cases, the drivers were in their sophomore year of NTT INDYCAR series competition.

Last Race: At Iowa Speedway’s Hy-Vee doubleheader last weekend, Kyle Kirkwood posted his second-best finish of the season in Race 1 when he finished 15th. Dalton Kellett finished 20th which tied his second-best finish of the year. In Race 2, Kirkwood ran high going into Turn 1 after going three-wide when leader Josef Newgarden and Rinus Veekay (fighting to stay on the lead lap) passed him entering Turn 1. Kirkwood hit the wall and was out of the race but wasn’t injured. Kellett was running in the top 18 when he was penalized with a 30-second stop and hold after a pit lane accident involving rear tire changer Chris McFadden. He placed 22nd.

The Gallagher Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC on Saturday starting at 12 noon ET. Peacock Premium will stream the practice (9:30 a.m.) and qualifying sessions (1:00 p.m.) on Friday. All times Eastern.