Kirkwood, Honda Conquer the Streets of Long Beach

Source: Manufacturer PR

Photo Courtesy of Honda Performance Development

Kirkwood, Honda Conquer the Streets of Long Beach

  • Honda drivers dominate, finishing first through fifth as Kyle Kirkwood wins the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
  • Romain Grosjean claims second in a 1-2 result for Andretti Autosport; Marcus Ericsson runs third to reclaim championship lead
  • Colton Herta and Alex Palou complete Honda 1-5 sweep

It was a dominant performance for Honda power as sophomore driver Kyle Kirkwood claimed his maiden NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory as part of a 1-2-3-4-5 Honda sweep at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. 

Driving the #27 Andretti Autosport Honda, Kirkwood led a race-high 53 laps of the 85-lap event, fully taking charge following the second round of pit stops.  Keeping him on track one lap longer than rival Josef Newgarden, Kirkwood used the traffic-free lap to run at a qualifying pace, then executed a quick final pit stop to assume a lead he would not relinquish.

The win was Kirkwood’s first in NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition, in just his 20th start in the series.  Kirkwood’s teammate Romain Grosjean completed a 1-2 finish for Andretti Autosport; while a third-place finish for Marcus Ericsson moved the St. Petersburg race winner back into the championship points lead.

Another Andretti Autosport driver and previous Long Beach winner, Colton Herta, finished fourth; with 2021 series champion Alex Palou rounding out the top five for Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing. 

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Honda Race Results                                                                        

1st Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport Honda
2nd Romain GrosjeanAndretti Autosport Honda
3rd Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi Racing Honda
4th Colton HertaAndretti Autosport Honda
5th Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing Honda
8th Marcus Armstrong-RChip Ganassi Racing Honda
12th Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
13th Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 
14th Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 
15th Simon PagenaudMeyer Shank Racing Honda 
16th Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti Autosport Honda 
18th Sting Ray Robb-RDale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
20th David MalukasDale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda
21st Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank Racing Honda
27th Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing Honda Did not finish [mechanical]

R – Rookie

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 3 of 17 rounds)                  

Honda254 points
Chevrolet222 points

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Drivers’ Championship Standings (unofficial, after 3 of 17 rounds)          

1. Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda110 points
2. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren-15
3. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda-19
4. Josef Newgarden, Team Penske-21
5. Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Autosport Honda -36

Kyle Kirkwood (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda) race winner from pole, first NTT IndyCar Series race victory: “It’s pretty amazing.  To win the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach isn’t just a big deal, it’s a massive deal. It’s something I’m still trying to soak in.  I need a moment to breathe and just take it all in.  It’s quite hard at this time!  It was an amazing race.  It was an amazing race for Honda, with the top-five all Honda-powered.  It’s really cool when you get up on the podium and everyone has Honda hats on.  It just proves everyone at Honda and HPD work, look how much they’ve gained over the off-season. I feel like we have a massive advantage now, especially on the road and street courses.  I’ve really glad that things worked out that way, and I think we’ll continue to do great things with Honda power.”

Romain Grosjean (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) finished second: “It was a hell of a race for all of the Honda-powered teams.  Finishing second ourselves, and part of a 1-2-3-4-5 result, that’s just awesome.  I’m really happy for [teammate] Kyle Kirkwood’s first Indy car win.  It was such a great weekend, everything that we needed went smoothly for us and I’m glad that we got this result for American Honda at their home race.”

Marcus Ericsson (#8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) finished third: “I think it was a fantastic race.  The atmosphere here at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was tremendous all weekend.  For me, it was another strong weekend, we qualified second yesterday and had a good race today, running up front all day and getting on the podium [finishing third].  I’m happy with that, and now we’re back in the championship lead, which is great.  And to have Hondas in the top five today in the race, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

David Salters (President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s 1-5 sweep by Honda at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: “Huge congrats to our women and men at HPD, our marvelous Andretti and Ganassi race teams, and our magnificent drivers on the 1-2-3-4-5 result today. It’s been a great weekend at the Acura GPLB. What is particularly gratifying was having most of our HPD associates and their families here with us. It’s delightful that they are able to see the fruits of their hard work and efforts. We didn’t just sweep the podium here at Long Beach, we swept the top five. It was certainly a dominant performance for Honda power and fuel efficiency. We did not suck!”

Fast Facts

  • Honda-powered drivers and teams have now won the Grand Prix of Long Beach 16 times in 23 appearances. This includes victories in nine of the last 14 races; and a seven-year victory streak in Championship Auto Racing Teams competition, against multi-manufacturer competition, from 1996-2002.
  • This is Honda’s 280th race win in North American open wheel racing, and 170th win in competition with other manufacturers.  It is the first win for Kyle Kirkwood, in his 20th race start in NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing.

The NTT IndyCar Series now takes one week off, then heads to scenic Barber Motorsports Park, just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, for the April 30 Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.

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