Archives for A.J. Foyt Racing PR

Notes & Quotes: Grand Prix of Portland

SHAWN FORD has worn more uniforms in one season than he did in the last three years. He joined AJ Foyt Racing this season as crew chief of the No. 11 Chevrolet driven by Tatiana Calderon and J.R. Hildebrand. He became the crew chief of the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet driven by Dalton Kellett in July. We asked him a few questions…

How did you become interested in motorsports?

SF: “My Dad was a car guy and we spent a lot of time as a family at the racetrack (Spokane, Wenatchee and Ephrata, mainly).”

Where were you born?

SF: “Helena, Montana”

Ever watch the TV show Yellowstone?

SF: ” Yellowstone is one of my favorite shows, it’s filmed about 100 miles from Helena!”

When is the first time you attended an INDYCAR event?

SF: “The first Indycar event I attended was Qualifying for the Indy 500. I was there to watch my brother’s team Team Green at that time.”

Shawn Ford with his brother Nick at the Indy 500.

Who is your brother?

SF: “My brother is Nick Ford and he was working with Team Green when Paul Tracy was driving the year of the controversial finish at Indy with him and Helio Castroneves. Nick started out doing some NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) stuff for the first few years. He mainly worked for Andretti for 10 years and Ganassi for around 10 years as well. He worked on Tony (TK) Kanaan’s car at Andretti for I think eight years and also worked on his car at Ganassi for a year or two there. So, he worked on Tony’s car for 10 years or so. We both had a chance to win a championship on the same day in 2003. We were both racing in Dallas, Texas that weekend. I did it with Larry Dixon and he finished 2nd with T.K. We did however win championships in the same year in 2011. I won with Del Worsham (NHRA Top Fuel) and Nick won with Dario Franchitti (INDYCAR), so that was our banner year! We also both had a chance to win the INDYCAR championship at the last race of the year in Sonoma in 2015. Myself with Graham Rahal and Nick with Scott Dixon. Scott Dixon was the champion that year. It was special to compete against my brother for a championship. Nick is no longer in racing; he is now the production manager at the California Closets factory here in Indianapolis.”

What does your resume look like?

SF:NHRA Short Block Specialist for Don Prudhomme Racing (2000-2006), won championship with Larry Dixon as driver in 2002 and 2003, and for Al-Anabi / Alan Johnson Racing (2011-2014) won championship with Del Worsham in 2011. Shawn Langdon 2013 (short block specialist)

INDYCAR Front End Technician for Andretti Green Racing (2007-2009). Was on the crew when Danica won her race in Japan. In 2010, worked for DeFerran Dragon Racing. Worked for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2015 – 2018) and won five races with Graham Rahal including a Detroit doubleheader sweep.

IMSA – Car Chief for Wayne Taylor Racing (2019 – 2021), No. 25 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series with driver Ashton Harrison; also assisted with the No. 10 DPI car.”

Left to Right: Shawn Ford with IMSA driver Ashton Harrison, celebrating with Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon, shaking hands with Graham Rahal in Victory Circle.

What is your favorite race track and why?

SF: “My favorite race track is Road America. It is unique and a nice change compared to a lot of the tracks we run on. I like the location and the cool and calm vibe the place has. To me, Road America is as American as apple pie.”

Ford awaits crew to finish during pitstop at Road America before releasing Tatiana Calderón.

What is your highest achievement in racing?

SF: “I would say my highest achievement in racing was crew chiefing a car that finished 12th at the Indy 500 this year. It’s not often one gets to do something they dreamed of as a kid and I feel very fortunate AJ Foyt Racing gave me that opportunity.”

Ford (left) looks over the No. 11 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet prior to J.R. Hildebrand driving to a 12th place finish in the Indianapolis 500. Crew members D.J. Ellsworth and Zach Smith (L to R) await direction.

Did you ever race cars yourself?

SF: “I never really drove anything other than my own car I used to take to the dragstrip.”

What is the most challenging part of your job now?

SF: “The most challenging part of my job has been learning how to deal with the guys. Everyone is different and everyone deals with adversity in different ways. Twenty years in this business should give a guy a degree in psychology.”

What gives you the most satisfaction in your job?

SF: “What I think is special about the racing industry is the camaraderie we all have. Everyone pulls toward the same goal. It doesn’t matter what race, age, religion, political view or whether you’re a man or woman. When the car comes in for a pit stop, none of that matters, you just get it done. Everyone looks out for one another. I wish the real world was more that way!”

What hobbies or interests do you have?

SF: “My hobbies include working on my hot rod projects. I also enjoy traveling with my family when I get the chance. Sitting in my hot tub and doing nothing after one of Chris McFadden’s (trainer for AJ Foyt Racing) workouts is fun too!”

Shawn with wife Brenda and their son Landon. The couple married in 2012 and make their home in Brownsburg, Ind.

What are the top three things on your Bucket List?

SF: (1) Finish restoring my 1964 Ford Falcon before I die; (2) Doing the Hot Rod Power Tour in the Falcon once it’s done! (3) Take the family on a trip to Iceland. Nature is cool!”

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

SF: “I remember the best advice I’ve ever gotten. A guy named Wille Wolter told me when I was young and just starting out in this industry to “just care about what you do.” That has stuck with me and I think about those words he said to me 20 some years ago often.”

DALTON KELLETT will be making his second INDYCAR start at Portland. Last year his race was cut short due to a fuel injection issue which was particularly disappointing because he was running 12th at the time.

“It’s crazy to think that the end of season is almost here! I’m looking forward to finishing off with a couple west coast races. The layout at Portland International Raceway is exciting and challenging. We tested here last week, pretty much everyone made a trip through the gravel. The track was very fast, compared to qualifying last year, so everyone was pushing hard. We ran through some important setup work and we tried some stuff that was good and a few configurations that weren’t the right direction, so I think we have some good information leading into the race weekend. Barring chaos in the festival curves, it can be a tough track to pass at so qualifying will be important to a good race!”

Kellett Fast Facts: Age 29 (as of Aug 19)…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 will be making his first INDYCAR start at the 12-turn, 1.964-mile track. He has raced and won at the track in USF2000 and Indy Lights.

“Portland has been especially really good to me. It’s the track where I won the USF2000 championship, and in my eyes, the track that won my Indy Lights championship. We were fortunate enough to be able to test there this past week in preparation for the Grand Prix. That has definitely given us a head start on the weekend and hopefully what we learned there will translate into a good performance.”

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.

Past Performance at Portland: Dalton Kellett started 24th but dropped out with mechanical woes just before the halfway point, he placed 26th. Kyle Kirkwood’s best start in the Indy Lights Series last year was fourth and he won that race after finishing second in the first race of the doubleheader. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is 10th and best finish is eighth (1993 with driver Robby Gordon). Matheus Leist also finished eighth in 2019.

Last Race: At World Wide Technology Raceway, Kellett started 24th and finished 18th, his second-best result of the season (best finish is 17th). Kirkwood started 20th and finished 17th, tying his third best finish of the season (best ones were 10th and 15th).

Broadcast/Streaming Information: The Grand Prix of Portland will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed on Peacock Premium on Sunday, Sept. 4, starting at 3 p.m. ET. Qualifying (Saturday, 3:05 – 4:20 p.m. ET) will be streamed live on Peacock Premium as will all practices: Friday – 5:30 p.m., Saturday – 12 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. (all times Eastern).

Race Report: Bommarito Automotive Group 500

MADISON, Ill. (August 20, 2022) — The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway is meant to be run under the lights, and with a little help from Mother Nature’s rain delay, it was — despite the early 5 p.m. CT start this year.

The first 217 laps of the 260-lap race were run in daylight. However, a brief rainstorm caused the race to be red-flagged at 6:55 p.m. Restarted two hours and 10 minutes later, the lights were on giving the final 43 laps the dramatic look the track is known for.

The crew performs the final stop of the night–fresh tires and fuel for the final 40-plus laps of the race.

Both Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet and Dalton Kellett in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet, who started 20th and 24th respectively, had relatively quiet races. With the first 144 laps run under green, there was little or no passing happening anywhere on the track, the drivers ran where they started. A 12-lap caution on lap 145 for Jack Harvey’s grazing the wall set up a highly charged restart but everyone made it through intact.

With temperatures dropping after the rain delay, the action on the track picked up as cars were able to utilize the high groove setting up several rounds of dramatic passing especially among the leaders.

Kirkwood did have a dramatic moment where there was an equipment miscue on a pit stop and he left the pits ablaze. Fortunately, the flames extinguished themselves when he got up to speed on the track.

“Alright, so finished p 17,” said Kirkwood. “The positive take is we went from 20 to 17. So we gained positions, we didn’t lose positions today. But we just didn’t really have the ultimate pace that some of the guys did, especially when it got dark. Those were conditions that we hadn’t run in yet. And it definitely caught us out for those last 43 laps. But I mean, another learning curve to definitely put under our belt. We were pretty solid in the beginning, but we couldn’t do anything with our pace just due to traffic. We missed it on strategy a couple of times too and it put us a lap down which was unfortunate but nonetheless we kept the car clean. So we’ll go on to Portland with a clear head.”

The storm clouds are brewing for the eventual rain that caused a two-hour stoppage of the race.

Kellett’s strategy was negated by the two-hour rain stop, thwarting his gaining another five spots had the race continued under green uninterrupted. However, he ran a heads-up race and posted his second highest finish of the season with his 18th place result.

“We started 24th and finished 18th, so I’m happy we were able to make up some spots in the race,” Kellett said. “That’s always the goal when you don’t have a good qualifying session. The situation was looking really good for us before the rain came. We wouldn’t have had to pit before the end, there were probably four or five cars that we might have jumped if it had gone green to the finish. Mother Nature doesn’t always play in your favor, but we got the race back underway for the fans under the lights, which is what matters. I’m happy we moved up but we would have liked to have been a little further up the grid when all was said and done.”

Josef Newgarden won his third straight race at this track and fifth of the season. Rookie David Malukas turned in a career-best finish as the runner-up after hustling from fifth in the final 30 laps. Rounding out the top five were: Scott McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward and Takuma Sato.

The team will head to Portland, Ore. this week to test before the Labor Day weekend race in the Rose City which will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, Sept. 4 starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Qualifying Report: Bommarito Automotive Group 500

MADISON, Ill. (August 19, 2022) — With past race results showing World Wide Technology Raceway to be one of the better race tracks for AJ Foyt Racing, the drivers are optimistic about their chances in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

At WWT Raceway, the team has five top-10 finishes, three of which were in the top-five, including a fifth place last year with Sebastien Bourdais and a third place in 2019 with Tony Kanaan.

With drivers going out to qualify in the reverse order of their NTT INDYCAR Series points position, those further back in the standings are hampered by less than ideal track conditions which are usually hotter giving the track less grip. Such was the case today at the 1.25-mile oval track.

Kyle Kirkwood, who was third out to qualify, will start 20th in the No. 14 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet after posting a two-lap average speed of 178.079mph.

Kirkwood talks with his race engineer Mike Colliver.

“Decent qualifying,” Kirkwood said following his run. “We showed up today after our test last week with pretty different track conditions {from when they tested}. We don’t feel like we’re as strong as what we were at the test. But in general, I think we had a solid qualifying I think that should put us mid pack or thereabouts. There’s definitely more in it, but we’re just still working with the car to get it in its happy place like it was at the test last week, which has definitely taken some tuning. Unfortunately, on weekends like this, you don’t get a bunch of tires to really figure it all out and enough time and enough clean track to nail everything down. It takes a couple sessions to really pinpoint exactly what you need. So we’re still working with it, but I think we have a very good heading coming into tomorrow’s race. Historically, the Number 14 car has been better in race conditions than it has in qualifying so we have that going for us.”

Dalton Kellett, who will start 24th in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet after posting an average speed of 173.902mph, was disappointed in his run.

Kellett answers questions from the media following his run.

““Not exactly the qualifying that we were looking for today,” said Kellett, who turned 29 today. “This is a tough track to pass so I was hoping we were a little further up the grid. It seems we had a bit more understeer than expected going into the end of the run. Last year, this was where we scored our best finish. Overall, we feel like the race platform that we have is better than where we were at the end of last year and at the start of the test a couple weeks ago. So optimistic for the race and just have to be smart on track and in pit lane, make some moves and move up from where we’re starting.”

Points leader Will Power was the last man out to qualify and he claimed the NTT P1 award with his “nothing left on the table” run and an average speed of 182.727mph. Scoring his 67th pole, Power tied Mario Andretti who held the record for poles won.

Marcus Ericsson will start outside pole with a speed average of 182.070mph. Power’s teammates Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin sit in row two while Ericsson’s teammates Alex Palou and Scott Dixon make up row three.

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be broadcast on the USA Network tomorrow afternoon starting at 6p.m. ET. The race will also be streamed on Peacock Premium and broadcast on the INDYCAR Radio Network.

NOTES & QUOTES: BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500

JONATAN “JJ” JORGE joined AJ Foyt Racing this season as a driver coach and spotter for Kyle Kirkwood. Born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the 39-year-old former race driver transitioned to a driver coach in 2004 when he retired from driving, although he did two seasons of IMSA Prototype racing (2017-18). He has coached many drivers who have gone on to compete in the NTT INDYCAR Series. He lives in Tallahassee, Fla. where he met Quinn, his wife of 15 years. They have a 7-year-old daughter Gabriela. We asked him a few questions…

How did you get interested in racing?

JJ: “Being from Brazil I wanted to play soccer but I was terrible at that, so my dad bought me a go kart

when I was 8 years old. That’s pretty much how it started, something to do with my dad on weekends

that now has consumed every inch of my life.”

You used to drive race cars–which series and what was your highest achievement?

JJ: “My first race was in 1991 in Brazil and I raced karts for about 10 years all over the place. In 2000, I moved to the US to learn English and try my luck on this side of the world. Most of my racing was done in open wheel here in the U.S. and in Europe. I drove all sorts of cars… Skip Barber, F1600, F2000, F-Renault, F3, several GT’s and Prototypes as well before I retired from racing and started coaching in 2004. I came back and did two seasons of Prototype racing in IMSA in 2017 and 2018 that served as a good refresher on driving which now helps on the coaching. Aside from Karting championships, I would say winning Daytona in an LMP3 co-driving with Kyle (Kirkwood) was right up there on what I consider a cool accomplishment.”

Why did you stop driving?

JJ: “This is a great question, I fought with this answer for a long time but I suppose the first time I realized my driving career was over was when life got in the way of me working to continue to find funding for racing. That was the main reason for it, but looking back at it now, it had a lot to do with lack of guidance. Pretty much flying solo trying to make it with only family support was difficult, especially because we didn’t have a clue how the sport and the industry really worked.”

What is your most memorable experience in racing?

JJ: “You know, there are so many of them and very few of them of me actually driving a car believe it or not. So many fantastic memories from coaching and achievements with so many drivers and teams… I pretty much live for these moments that continue to happen even when things don’t go your way.”

What is the best advice you ever received as a driver?

JJ: “Two quotes that I live by were actually advice that I carry with me for everything related to racing: ‘You never lose, you either win or you learn’ and ‘Expect nothing, accept everything.’

What is your favorite track and why?

JJ: “This is a tough one but I always have been a big fan of Mid-Ohio. I really enjoy the flow of it as a driver, the way conditions change from day to day and how you have to adapt and adopt different approaches during the weekend always fascinated me.”

Which came first: being a driver coach or a spotter?

JJ: “I didn’t even know about spotting until the ovals came along kind of late in my coaching career but now it’s all mixed together as part of one thing. Started with me being really upset with the sport after I had to stop driving… I kept seeing people whom I raced with and beat move on while I sat watching. I tried getting out of racing but completely lost my identity when trying to do that. So, it started as a way to make money but it became a new way for me to get my “fix” as I get the same high from what I do now as a coach that I did when I drove. I have a company called JJRD (Jonatan Jorge Racing Development) and have tried in the past to hire coaches but for the past bunch of years, I have been a one-man band. Like anything in life, especially in racing, personality and character is everything, so I decided to just focus on what I can do rather than to try and manage others.”

How does being a former driver help you as a spotter?

JJ: “As I mentioned before, spotting came pretty late for me so I am still learning about it. I think a lot of the spotters who have been doing this for a long time and have so much experience can do just as good of a job as any coach or ex-driver in that regard. For me, having been a driver before is helpful because I can see some car behaviors that sometimes trigger a suggestion for the driver to try. Also just understanding the struggles of the driver in the car when you are fatigued and hot in there to help keep the focus in the right area with the right type of message and timing of information can be helpful.”

What are the most challenging tracks for a spotter and why?

JJ: “For me, Indy is really tricky just because it’s so large and with two spotters passing the cars from one end to the other over the radio can add some variables. In addition to that, where we have to stand is kind of awkward because you see the cars coming right at you, so to judge if someone is clear of other cars is not as straightforward as other places. The 24 Hours of Daytona is also really tough but for other reasons! I usually spot the entire race by myself, so it’s pretty challenging from the length of the race and the speed disparity from the multi-class racing is always a bit difficult to manage.”

What satisfaction do you get from a being a driver coach?

JJ: “I feel the absolutely exact same feelings I had as when I drove. I get nervous before the race, calm during it, and whatever happens after matches as well. For me, everything I do as a coach is exactly the same as when I was a driver, except I no longer drive the car.”

Whom have you coached in the past?

JJ: “I don’t know if I have enough space to name everyone in all these years, so I will stick with the ones I have helped in INDYCAR or to get to INDYCAR in the lower series: Conor Daly, Kyle Kirkwood, Pato O’Ward, Rinus Veekay, J.R. Hildebrand, Spencer Pigot, R.C. Enerson, Oliver Askew, Kyle Kaiser, Max Chilton, Sage Karam. Now Benjamin Pedersen, having done his first INDYCAR test a couple months ago, is the next one in the pipeline. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone and if I am, I’m sorry, I’m getting old.”

Jorge walks with Kirkwood and Benjamin Pedersen at Indy.

What interests/hobbies do you have outside of racing?

JJ: “I really enjoy spending time with my girls at home. My wife and my daughter, we try to spend all our time together on the rare occasions I get to come home. Aside from that, I really enjoy swimming as a form of exercise, I find it calming. I have really grown to enjoy using my simulator to work with drivers especially in the off season. It’s work but also a hobby of mine now.”

What do you do when not at a race track?

JJ: “Time with family and thinking about my next event — I have a hard time turning off from racing most of the time, so that is always a work in progress. My entire life revolves around my two passions: my family and my racing.”

What are the top 3 things on your Bucket List?

JJ: “Great question… I for sure would love to win the Indy 500 and the INDYCAR Championship with a driver in which I feel like I was a huge part of their career in terms of development. Another one on my bucket list is, I would love to be able to retire one day and spend more time with my wife Quinn. She is always holding down the fort at home while I’m out here living my dream and doing what I love. So, repaying her with more time together, perhaps some leisurely travel with her, is at the top of my list.”

Last year, the race started later and the latter portion was run under the lights. Here Kellett finishes his final stop in the race.

DALTON KELLETT seems to have good fortune in August! He celebrates his 29th birthday Friday, Aug. 19th. The Toronto native posted his career-best result in the NTT INDYCAR Series at WWT Raceway last year when he finished 12th in the Bommarito 500. He started a career-best 12th in the final street race of this year in Nashville on August 7th.

“Last year, we scored our best finish at World Wide Technology Raceway, so the No. 4 team is looking

forward to being back in St. Louis! This is always an exciting race for fans, so it should be a good show. We tested here last week, and I’m glad we had that opportunity because we worked through some setup and overall approach options that we wouldn’t have had time to do during the race weekend. I think we’ll be able to hit the ground running thanks to that prep work. The AJ Foyt Racing team will be pushing hard to finish strong on the last oval race for the 2022 season!”

Kellett Fast Facts: Age 29 (as of Aug 19)…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.

FIRST PITCH! Kyle Kirkwood will throw out the first pitch at Busch Stadium as the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Colorado Rockies Thursday afternoon–game time is 12:15 p.m. CT. This will be Kirkwood’s first time on the pitcher’s mound — ever! He is quite thrilled about what he sees as a “cool” experience in Major League Baseball. He didn’t play baseball in his childhood; he played soccer — his father was a professional soccer player. Kyle was quite good as a youth but chose to pursue motorsports instead.

KYLE KIRKWOOD returned from a short vacation in the Bahamas after testing at WWT Raceway on Aug 11. His car will be sporting a new sponsor as the Bommarito Automotive Group is the primary marketing partner of the No. 14 Chevrolet for this race. Rebel Bourbon signed on as an associate marketing partner for this event while Sexton Properties is the major associate marketing partner this weekend. Kirkwood competed at this track in Indy Lights last year winning a pole and finishing second in both races.

“The feeling of momentum is definitely with us with an overall solid race weekend at Nashville and a very good test at World Wide Technology Raceway this past week in preparation for this weekend. This has notoriously been one of the best tracks for A.J. Foyt and I also have been very fond of this smooth yet unique oval. Based on our test, a lot of this race is won on either qualifying or strategy, so we have really done our homework to make sure we nail both of those to best of our ability.”

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.

Last Race: At Nashville, Dalton Kellett posted his best qualifying run of the year having advanced out of the first round. He started 12th in the race but was caught up in a multi-car wreck on a lap 25 restart. Kellett’s gearbox sensor was impacted forcing him to retire early. He placed 25th. Kyle Kirkwood started 16th and appeared to be having one of his best runs of the season as he was running in the top-10 and then the top-five for a good part of the race. However, he tangled with David Malukas, whom he was trying to pass, and both cars ended up in the wall and out of the race. He placed 19th.

The initial start of the race in Nashville which was waved off.

Past Performance at WWT Raceway: Dalton Kellett’s only start here was last year when he qualified 24th and came through to finish 12th. Kirkwood competed at WWT Raceway in the Indy Lights Series last year; he started on the front row both races (won the pole in the second race) and finished second in both events. The Foyt team’s best start is 8th (2017 – Carlos Muñoz) and its best finish is 3rd (2019 – Tony Kanaan).

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be broadcast on the USA Network Saturday evening starting at 6 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed live on Peacock Premium as will qualifying on Friday at 4:15 p.m. ET. The INDYCAR Radio Network will also broadcast the race.

Race Report: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

NASHVILLE (Aug. 7, 2022) — The music stopped and AJ Foyt Racing was left without a chair in the second edition of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. Torrential rain delayed the start of the race by over 90 minutes, but once the race got underway, the game of musical chairs began.

In the opening laps of the race, both Dalton Kellett, who started 12th in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet, and Kyle Kirkwood who started 16th in the Sexton Properties Chevrolet, were running one of their best races of the season. Unfortunately, neither driver finished.

Although Kellett slipped from 12th to 18th early on, he was running a good pace when the first round of pit stops began following the second full course caution on lap 22, for Helio Castroneves’ spin in Turn 3. Most of the field ducked into the pits for service.

This first stop on lap 21 was pivotal in the race strategy.

In a fortunate turn of events, Kirkwood had pitted a lap earlier and was able to leapfrog from 13th to fourth when the field pitted, prompting race strategist Larry Foyt to say, “Maybe our luck is turning around.”

However, when the race restarted on lap 25, Kellett was caught up in a multi-car crash in Turn 6 that forced at least six cars to the pits, some of whom were able to return to the race. Kellett could not and finished 25th.

Kellett follows close behind Takuma Sato.

Kellett explained, “We got caught up in the accordion effect, a bit of a pileup in that back part of the

track going up into Turn 6 and there was nowhere really to go. Got into the back of Dixon and then Simona (DeSilvestro) hit me from behind. There’s a sensor in the back of the gearbox that if that gets broken off, you can’t shift and that’s basically what happened to us.

“Not the way we wanted our weekend to end here in Nashville after our best qualifying so far in the NTT INDYCAR Series,” he added. “Definitely leaving here taking the positives away from this weekend that we can, you know with a good qualifying performance and we made good strategy calls. There was also some pace that we found that I don’t think we’ve had before, so that was a good confidence boost for the whole team and for myself as well, so looking forward to taking that into the remaining road courses. Next up we’ve got Gateway (World Wide Technology Raceway) and that was a good race for us last year. We test there next week, so hoping that goes well and that should be an exciting race.”

On that same restart, Kirkwood dropped from fourth to sixth after being passed by David Malukas and Scott McLaughlin but Foyt calmed his driver, reminding him there was a lot of racing left. On the next restart on lap 33, Kirkwood moved into fifth after passing Jimmie Johnson and he ran there until the fifth full course caution of the day unfolded for the Takuma Sato and Devlin DeFrancesco incident in Turn 10 on lap 52.

Kirkwood passes Jimmie Johnson for fifth and trails Scott McLaughlin.

This time Kirkwood got leapfrogged by several cars who had pitted just before the caution. He dropped to 10th despite the quick stop. When the race restarted, he gained three spots in one lap only to have officials rule that he jumped the restart; he had to drop back to ninth. In a couple laps, he moved into eighth and was realistically seventh since leader Josef Newgarden still had to pit and Kirkwood did not.

On lap 64, Kirkwood was making a move on Malukas when the two rookies made contact in Turn 9 and both ended up in the tire barrier ending their day. Kirkwood injured his right hand and it requires further examination to determine the extent of the injury which he will have done this week.

Foyt and Kirkwood after the race.

“Honestly it was a fantastic race overall up until the lap that it ended for us,” said Kirkwood when he returned to the paddock from the track’s medical center. “Fantastic strategy by the team cycled us up into what I think was P4 on strategy, and it was really close to even being further up than that. We cycled back a few spots after some other people got lucky on a caution, but then boom right away, we’re back into hunting for what seemed like a podium. Looking at the end of the race there, we were right behind Scott McLaughlin and he was fighting for the win at the end of the race, and that’s where I felt like we should have been, so I was pushing everything I had. David Malukas was probably about a second off the pace, and I went to pass him and I just don’t think he saw me going for the lunge on the inside of turn nine. I did the same move on Simon Pagenaud and he was aware of the situation, but I guess I’ve got to look into it more, but that was just unfortunate. We were pushing super hard to try and get a podium because that’s what I think this team deserves at the moment.”

Malukas was penalized for “avoidable contact” and dropped to 20th while Kirkwood was scored in 19th.

One who always seems to snag a chair when the music stops is Scott Dixon. He won his 53rd INDYCAR race thus moving past Mario Andretti into second place on the all-time victories list, trailing behind only A.J. Foyt, who has 67 triumphs. Dixon was involved in the lap 25 melee that claimed Kellett but after six pitstops, five more cautions and 55 more laps, it was Dixon taking the checkers.

Following him across the line were: pole winner Scott McLaughlin, Alex Palou (with a broken front wing), Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta (both of whom were involved in early accidents). The next race on the schedule is the Bommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway which will be broadcast on the USA Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Qualifying Report: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

NASHVILLE (Aug. 6, 2022) — Making music in the Music City. Dalton Kellett posted his career best qualifying run in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet in the final street course event of the season.

Starting 12th in tomorrow’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, Kellett topped his performance in the season opener in St. Petersburg when he qualified 14th. Kellett used two sets of the green-rimmed alternate compound tires to advance out of the first round of qualifying. He was sixth fastest of the 13 qualifiers on track.

In the Fast 12, Kellett was at a disadvantage as he had only two used sets of alternate compound tires available while most of his competitors had a new set to utilize. However, that fact did not dampen the elated feelings of the team or the driver.

Kellett gets a hug from his fiancée Nicole Westra.

“We just posted our best qualifying of the 2022 season so far and it feels really great just to get that No. 4 K-Line Chevy into the Firestone Fast 12 on a great weekend here in Nashville,” said the 28-year-old Canadian. “Lots of interesting stuff going on, we had the Firestone guayule green alternate tires on which were coming up to temp really quick. It was kind of a parallel to the St. Pete qualifying where we did quite well. It seems like when we can get the tires to activate quickly and really just make it happen on that first lap, we seem to have an advantage there. We really press that advantage by just making sure we got ahead of the order of things as far as greens coming out to transfer so that’s something to look at. Very proud of this team overall for the result that we got here today.”

Kellett with his parents Cinde and Mark after posting his best qualifying run to date.

Kyle Kirkwood had high hopes going into qualifying after being fifth quickest in the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet in this morning’s practice. However, he did not advance out of the first round of qualifying. He will start 16th.

“I have to say we don’t really have the pace that everyone else gets out of their cars on the green tires for whatever reason,” Kirkwood said after climbing out of his car. “Fortunately, we assume it’s going to be a primary race tomorrow with the primary black tires, which we’ve been very quick on. Very quick on them in practice one, and we’re super quick on them practice two. We’ve got the car in a good place. So tomorrow if it’s black race, a primary race and everything stays dry, we’re going to be quick.”

Team President Larry Foyt congratulated Kellett on his run and said afterwards, “Really for happy for Dalton and the 4 team. It was great to see that K-Line Chevy advance to the top 12 in qualifying. So really hoping we have a great day tomorrow. The 14 car is starting 16th, not where we want to start, but the car has been good all weekend. Hopefully we’ll have two good finishes and get out of Nashville with some good points.”

Scott McLaughlin won the NTT P1 Award with his time of 1 minute, 14.55 seconds on the 2.1-mile street course. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were Romain Grosjean, Christian Lundgaard, Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden.

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC and streamed on Peacock Premium tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

Source: Team PR

RAUL MOLINA is a weekend warrior who was drafted into service at the Indianapolis 500! Co-owner of Molina’s Cantinas, the very successful family-run Tex-Mex restaurant operation in Houston, Molina has known the Foyt family for over 50 years. He went from a being a fan who took pictures of the race team to becoming an active crew member on race weekends. We asked him a few questions… 

How did you first meet A.J. Foyt?

RM: “I grew up two blocks from AJ Foyt, Sr.’s (Tony Foyt) automotive shop located on South Shepherd and Milford St. and my dad had an old Jaguar that he would take to Mr. Foyt to adjust the side draft carburetors while A.J. worked on an old restaurant van. I would go to the shop with my dad and that is how I got to meet both Foyts and had my first exposure to a race car. I was about 8 or 9 years old and also rode my bike over to the shop often just to nose around. Mr. Foyt let me hang around a lot.

“After that, I was and still am a great fan of A.J. Foyt. Growing up, I would listen to the Indy 500 races on the radio and cheer on Foyt. On a sad note, one day I went up to the Foyt garage only to find that it had moved to north Houston but, there was still the fire station next door, and the firemen would “let” me and my friends wash the fire hoses after a fire and roll those heavy things up for them…. so our kid life of adventure was not all that bad.”

What was the first race you saw in person? 

RM: “My first race to see A.J. drive would be a midget race in the Houston Astrodome back in 1969. Jimmy Greer sponsored the car I believe. It was one of the most exciting things I had ever seen and to make it better, A.J. won.”

When did you start coming to Indy car races? 

RM: “A.J. and his family have been customers of my family’s Mexican restaurant for many years and back when the Month of May was the entire month, A.J. was having dinner before heading to Indy. He asked me about getting some chips and hot sauce so that he could take to Indy. I was joking with him and I told him, if he could get me a place to watch the race, I would deliver the chips and hot sauce in person. To my surprise, he told me to call one of his employees and it would be taken care of. I was 23 years old and newly married, but I jumped in a restaurant van and drove all the way to Indy with five other guys with A.J.’s chips and hot sauce. That was 42 years ago and I have only missed one Indy 500 race ever since! I was a guest of A.J.’s in his Turn 2 suite to watch my first Indy 500 and it was such an amazing time! I was fortunate to visit his suite many times during subsequent Indy weeks and A.J. helped me get really nice tickets in the grandstands to watch the race.”

When did you first start working with the team?

RM: “After attending the race for many years with a group of friends, the group decided not to go back so, I started going to Indy with only my camera. Thanks to A.J., I had pit/garage passes so that I could have access to take photos of the event. Many times prior to the Indy 500 race, I would take dinner to the Waller (Texas) race shop for the crew members as a treat while the crew worked long days and nights in preparation to head to Indy. I became friends with Rodney (“Dawg”) while hanging out at the race shop. Back when we could take anything we wanted on an airplane, I would take chips, hot sauce, tequila, and margarita mix with me for the suites. Carb Day used to be on Thursday and we would celebrate until race day, eating, and drinking margaritas in the high-roller parking area. During those old days, I was eating dinner in one of the motor homes with Bob Galloway one night and ended up getting to meet and talk to General Chuck Yeager!

“If I had to guess, about 15 years ago, I was walking the pits taking pictures and I stopped to check in with Rodney to see how everything was going in the pits. Rodney’s reply was, ‘I know that you are here taking pictures but, you need to put that camera down and give us a hand, we are short of help.’ All I had to do was hold a rear tire for the inside tire changer, how bad could that be? I found out real quick just how fast things can go wrong. The car in the pit box 1 or 2 from us had some sort of issue and a front tire came bouncing towards our pit box. Before I knew it had even happened, the loose tire flew by me. What had I gotten into? Since then, I have run tires, worked the Deadman valve, pulled air gun hose, anything to help out.”

Now that you are a weekend warrior, what do you do to help out the team (aside from pit stops)?

RM: “I started off this season working with the 11 car. Duties included helping prep the car in the morning to get fired up by connecting the oil and water heater, hand crank motor. Work with the damper team to insure the proper damper springs and alternate dampers are taken to pits for the practice sessions. Help mechanics in garage setting tire pressures, clean brake bleeders after brakes have been bled, help remove and then reinstall car body work. Load the tugger with all equipment necessary for the practice and race sessions. Pull the car to and from the race track. During the limited time allotted for practice, listen to crew radio, stay focused on what crew members are doing, try to anticipate what items the crew chief might want on the pit wall like dampers, springs, front or rear camber shims in order to have an effective and efficient practice session. For pre-race, clean, polish and prep primary and backup wheel nuts along with the car’s uprights. During the race, stop sign and the water cannon and help the tire guy keep front tires in order, ready for the next pit stop.”

What is your favorite memory (or most memorable experience) from a race track?

RM: “I took my dad to the Indy 500 in 2007. He was so excited. A memory I will always cherish so, for that reason, my most memorable. My two boys also have become regular Indy boys traveling up there with me many times, starting in their high school days to present; they are 28 and 30.”‘

Your family restaurant, Molina’s Cantina, used to cater lunch for the ABC Supply Day at the Track outside of Houston. You also took pictures and had a special experience there–tell us about it.

RM: “What kid that grew up around cars would not die for the chance to drive a Race Car? When Larry Foyt offered me the chance to drive the ABC Indy car, it was a Dream Come True. It was so awesome and gave me a real appreciation for the skills that professional race car drivers have. Both my sons also had the opportunity to drive.”

Who started Molina’s Cantina?

RM: “My family’s restaurant business got started back in 1941 by my grandparents. Later my dad and uncle got into the business after they served in the military. I now work with my two brothers operating three locations, two in the greater Houston area and the newest in Fulshear (a suburb west of Houston).”

Raul (in orange shirt) with his brother Ricardo (left), his dad Raul, Jr. and other brother Roberto. The occasion for the photo was the 80th Anniversary of the first opening of the restaurant in 1941.

What are the other locations, and do you still have the first location operating?

RM: “The original was in the downtown Houston area but has long been gone. We have had numerous other locations, mostly inside the Loop 610, plus the one out on Westheimer, which is still open today.”

What do you do for the family business?

RM: “What I do is wear many hats. I don’t have to work on the floor seven days a week anymore, thank goodness! My main responsibility, after my parents sold the business to me and my brothers, is business administration and operational systems for our family of companies.

My other responsibilities include facilities development and maintenance, and can include things like electrical repairs, plumbing, HVAC, equipment repairs, fixing golf carts used for our security and on occasion cooking, plus computer systems and more. I must say, it is nice to have a race shop full of tools and one Jack Starne (AJ Foyt Racing’s general manager) to help with some of my many equipment repairs!”

What do you do in your spare time?

RM: “What spare time? This year between the family business and races, there has been little spare time but, when there is, I love spending time in Galveston at our beach house, mowing, relaxing, enjoying adult beverages, listening to music (60’s & 70’s), BBQ pit and friends. I have to say, my hobbies/interest are work, races, photography and listening to music.”

What are three things on your Bucket List?

RM: “I’d love to be there working an Indy 500 race that we WIN!!!(2)Spread out in a big fancy house on Galveston Bay with a boatlift.(3) Have grandkids to spoil.”

Firestone “Green” Tires? As part of an ongoing effort to make Indy car racing a “greener” sport, INDYCAR and Firestone are working together on initiatives such as the Firestone Firehawk guayule race tires which will make their competition debut as the alternate race tire at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. The green (instead of red) sidewalls of the tire are made with guayule-derived natural rubber which is a sustainable product. Guayule is a drought resistance, heat tolerant, woody

desert shrub native to the American southwest. The guayule natural rubber within the tire’s sidewall allows it to maintain the same quality and performance as the existing race tire. The guayule race tire will only run this race this season.

DALTON KELLETT:

“I’m very excited to be going back to Nashville. With the city, the promotion, and the track, I think it’s well on the way to being a marquee event on the calendar. I liked the layout last year, despite the challenges of the bumps and the inevitable learning opportunities of a brand new street circuit. The adjustments to the circuit all look like they will make the racing and driving better. Especially addressing the seams on the bridge and the big bumps in the downtown section should really improve the overall driving experience. It’s our last street circuit for the 2022 season, so it’s bittersweet since those are my favourite circuits. I really enjoy the challenge IndyCar racing brings to city streets. We have felt good about our street package on the No. 4 K-Line car, but we have a new test with Firestone’s green alternate compound tire that is being debuted this weekend. All indications are that the performance is the same as the red (alternate compound tire), so it shouldn’t be much of an adjustment. It’s great to see Firestone taking the lead on developing renewable tire compounds!”

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:

“I would probably put Nashville as the second-best event of the year, next to the 500. We’ve shown good pace at most street courses this season and I fully expect to again this weekend. They’ve made some changes to the track, which I believe works in my favor or for anyone who hasn’t driven on the circuit yet. It will be hot, physical, bumpy and all new to me but we’re excited for the challenge.”

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.

Past Performance at Nashville: In the inaugural event, Sebastien Bourdais, who started 16th, was taken out on an early restart when Marcus Ericsson rear-ended Bourdais so hard that Ericsson’s car bounced over the top of Bourdais’s car and damaged the No. 14’s suspension beyond repair. Dalton Kellett, who brought out that first caution due to steering wheel issues, soldiered on but on lap 40, he tried to miss sitting duck Scott McLaughlin who’d spun after tangling with his teammate Will Power. Kellett damaged his suspension and retired. Ericsson went on to claim his first Indy car victory.

Last Race: At the Gallagher Grand Prix, Kellett started 24th and finished 21st. Kirkwood started 20th and finished 23rd.

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC this Sunday starting at 3 p.m. ET. Practice and qualifying will be streamed live on Peacock Premium.

Race Report: Gallagher Grand Prix

INDIANAPOLIS (July 30, 2022) — This too shall pass. Auto racing is a tough sport because it is unforgiving and sometimes downright cruel. But racers – drivers, owners and especially crew members — are blessed with an innate optimism which serves them well when times get rough.

Dalton Kellett has had some challenging days at the office in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet this season but he always seems to find the positives.

Starting 24th and finishing 21st in the Gallagher Grand Prix, Kellett recounted his race and gleaned the positives the race had to offer.

“Moved up from where we started, which was definitely the goal today after a pretty rough qualifying,” Kellett said. “Happy we were able to make up some spots in that No. 4 K-Line Team Chevy.

“The track here is always pretty tough to nail the setup down,” he continued. “We started the weekend really not in a window where either of us were very happy. We went in two separate directions for (morning) warm-up just trying to figure something out. I think we found something we were happy with, and definitely a lot more pleased with the balance of the car overall during the race. I think the engineers did a great job from where we started the weekend to now.

“As the race played out, we started on blacks which were definitely the slower tire but luckily most of the field was on the blacks to begin with, so we didn’t lose too much track position there,” the 28-year-old Canadian said. “Got spun around early after tangling with the 48 car with Jimmie (Johnson). No real blame or anything to be mad about there, looks like just a racing incident. He was on the outside, I was trying to hold the inside line, and we touched wheels and I went around. It wasn’t anything too egregious on either of our parts. Luckily, the AMR safety crew got us started and we didn’t lose a lap, which is great, because that would have ended our day pretty much. So, hats off to them.

“Strategy wise, we were just trying to run as hard as we could initially,” he revealed, adding, “and then with that yellow that came out about halfway through, we had to do a pretty long stint in the middle. So, we’re saving fuel really aggressively, getting input from the stand on fuel mileage I needed to hit, and I was able to actually pick up the lap time while saving fuel, so that’s always the goal. Then had a relatively normal length stint at the end where you could push hard which I was trying to stay ahead of the leaders — just in case the yellow came out. But once they were close, then we let them by and have their battle. I was able to keep Jimmie behind us at the finish, so it all worked out I guess.”

Teammate Kyle Kirkwood had a particularly tough time on the 2.43-mile, 11-turn road course and described his race as “eventful.”

After a positive morning warm-up where the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet showed competitive pace, the team anticipated a competitive race. Indeed, it started off in the right direction with Kirkwood moving up from his 21st grid spot to 17th but a slow stop on lap 15 dropped him to 23rd. An issue getting away on the second stop compounded the trouble but the icing on the cake was getting tagged by Helio Castroneves on lap 49 which sent Kirkwood spinning. He was able to keep it running but the rear of the undertray sustained damage which affected the car’s performance. Castroneves was levied a penalty for avoidable contact. The race finished under green so Kirkwood never got the chance to get his lap back and he placed 23rd. Castroneves met him afterwards to apologize for the shunt.

“It was actually a fun race but we were on the wrong strategy,” said Kirkwood. “Started off on the red tires which didn’t work out for anyone except for Scott McLaughlin, which he went long on them I believe, and we just didn’t really have the pace on the black tires. From there we went to an old set of reds because that’s all we had left and we used them in practice.

“Very eventful race,” he continued. Got hit in turn 9 and that really gave us too much damage to have any pace at all for the rest of the race. Ultimately, it put us a lap down with an extra pit stop due to an issue with the rear right tire from that incident. Unfortunate day, but we’ve made improvements this weekend, so we’ll take the positives from it. That (improvements) was definitely one of them. And we’ll go on to Nashville, another street course. Hopefully, fingers crossed, we’ll be good there.”

Alexander Rossi won his first race since 2019, thus ending a 49-race winless streak. Finishing second through fifth were rookie Christian Lundgaard, who posted his career best finish of the season, Will Power who was trailed by his teammates Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden.

This week the NTT INDYCAR Series heads to Nashville. The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will be broadcast by NBC on Sunday, August 7th starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Today started off with a unique photo opportunity at the Speedway. The IMS staff gathered INDYCAR’s Indianapolis 500 winners and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 winners and one Brickyard 200 road course winner to pose together at the Yard of Bricks. Some past winners drove or flew in just to be part of the photo and enjoy the historic moment.

Standing (L to R): Will Power, Brad Keselowski, Alexander Rossi, Marcus Ericsson, Helio Castroneves, Jeff Gordon, A.J. Foyt, Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Jimmie Johnson, A.J. Allmendinger (Brickyard 200 road course), Casey Kahne, Simon Pagenaud. Seated (L to R): Sam Hornish Jr., Ricky Rudd, Arie Luyendyk, Jr., Kyle Bush, Takuma Sato, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Rahal, Kevin Harvick.

Optimists all!

Qualifying Report: Gallagher Grand Prix

INDIANAPOLIS (July 29, 2022) — The tough qualifying sessions continue for the AJ Foyt Racing team as the NTT INDYCAR Series shares the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend. The Gallagher Grand Prix kicks off the festivities on Saturday while NASCAR’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard wraps up the weekend on Sunday.

Kyle Kirkwood will start 21st in the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet after posting a lap time of 1 minute, 11.21 seconds (123.293 mph) around the 2.439-mile course.

“Ended up 21st. Obviously, not as good as we’d like to be,” Kirkwood said. “And we felt like we were a lot better at the test when we were here a few weeks ago and very similar conditions. So, we’re scratching our heads a little bit, but now we’ve got some time between qualifying and tomorrow’s warm up to really dig into the car and see what’s different. Granted, this is a different car than what we tested here. And so that might have something to do with it. But we’re gonna have to dig into and see exactly what the discrepancies are to figure out if we can get this baby back to the front for tomorrow’s warm up.”

Dalton Kellett will start 24th in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet having lapped the 14-turn course in 1 minute, 12.00 seconds (121.940 mph).

“Overall tough qualifying for us,” said the 28-year-old Canadian. “Just didn’t feel like we’ve quite got the most out of the reds. Still struggling with the same thing since the start of the first practice: understeer in high and low speed corners. So, trying to dial some of that out. We thought we made a good decent swing at it for qualifying but still kind of missed on the balance a little bit with the reds. We opted to go to reds early and were one of the first ones on reds, so that never really helps. We’re still looking for a chunk of time so we’re gonna figure out just how we can get a little more front grip dialed into this No. 4 K-Line car and see what we’ve got for tomorrow.”

Felix Rosenqvist won the pole with a lap time of 1 minute, 10.22 seconds (125.030 mph). Finishing in the Firestone Fast 6 were Alexander Rossi, Pato O’Ward, Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Christian Lundgaard.

The Gallagher Grand Prix will be broadcast Saturday, July 30th on NBC at 12 noon ET with the green flag waving at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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.

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