Andretti Autosport WWTR Race One Debrief
 August 21, 2021| 
  • Team News
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COOPER TIRES INDY LIGHTS OVAL CHALLENGE OF ST. LOUIS
RACE 1 DEBRIEF
08.20.2021
 
 
It was a busy day at World Wide Technology Raceway as the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field took on the short oval for the season's only oval event. The 12-car field started the day with practice followed by single-car qualifying, where Lap 1 set the starting positions for Race 1 and Lap 2 set the grid for Race 2.

Kyle Kirkwood 
led the charge for the Andretti Autosport stable starting second in Race 1. Challenging for the lead, Kirkwood had a moment in Turn 2, but was able to keep from making contact with the wall. Reigning Indy Pro 2000 winner at World Wide Technology Raceway in 2020, Devlin DeFrancesco battled his way through the field from starting seventh to end the day in fourth. Rookie Danial Frost got a bit loose on the opening laps of the race and was able to work his way into the top six. Robert Megennis was poised for a top-five finish before the right-front tire went down causing the No. 27 to come to pit lane for a new tire. With nine laps to go, the Indy Lights Race Director called an early end to Race 1 due to concerns about excessive tire wear.

With the grid already set for Race 2, Kirkwood will lead the field to the green flag on Saturday for the second race of the doubleheader event at World Wide Technology Raceway. Catch the action live on Peacock at 6:20 p.m. ET.

 

KYLE KIRKWOOD
No. 28 ROAD TO INDY / COOPER TIRES / CONTRACTION CONTRACTORS CLUB DALLARA
START FINISH CHAMPIONSHIP
2 2 1ST / 328 PTS.
OF NOTE: Earned the eighth podium of his 2021 Indy Lights season
"At the start of the race I had a really good run on David Malukas, but I was a bit unaware of how the car was, what the balance was and how the conditions were. I knew that if I wanted to capitalize on the position and take over the lead, I had to give it everything I got. It resulted in a pretty big moment between Turns 1 and 2 and I had a big slide on power. Then Linus [Lundqvist] was able to drive around us going into Turn 3, because I lost so much time out of [Turn] 2. From there, I just sat in third for awhile and couldn't really hang on to the guys in the front. On the restart, I had another run on what was second place, Linus, and came around the outside of him coming out of [Turn] 2. He drove us up into the wall and I made contact with him on the middle of the straight, which almost caused him to spin and gave us damage on our nose. That was really the end of the race for us. You can really only make passes early on when you have a run, but once everyone slots in it's nearly impossible to make any moves. We ended up in second place after Linus had what looked to be a mechanical issue and ended up in the wall. That was the actual end of our race there as we finished under caution. Overall, happy with the performance. The fact that we salvaged second after a couple big moments, I am really happy with it. Coming into tomorrow, I am much more comfortable to lead this event than anything. If we can keep our nose clean for the first couple laps, I think we will have a good shot at winning again."

 

DEVLIN DEFRANCESCO
No. 17 POWERTAP DALLARA

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
START FINISH CHAMPIONSHIP
7 4 5TH / 219 PTS.
OF NOTE: Will take the green flag for Race 2 Saturday from seventh
"We definitely made progress with the No. 17 PowerTap machine in the race. I think we all got a little caught out in qualifying with the change in conditions and we picked up a whole lot of push. That really put us behind the eight ball. The PowerTap team didn't give up and we made some moves in the race. It's a shame that the race had to end early, but it came down to safety and of course safety is the most important thing at the end of the day. We would have definitely have had a shot at a podium."

 

DANIAL FROST
No. 68 DEN-JET DALLARA
START FINISH CHAMPIONSHIP
5 6 4TH / 227 PTS.
OF NOTE: Starts Saturday's Race 2 from third on the inside of Row 2
"We started P5 today and I was looking forward to making up some positions at the start, but we did not expect the car to be so loose for the entire race. We had a pretty big moment on the opening lap and kind of dropped back toward the tail of the field. We had to make our way back up to the front. It was pretty difficult, honestly, with the setup being not quite in the window and we were struggling with that. At the end of the day, we still finished P6 and that is the maximum we could've gotten out of the car. You have good races and you have bad races. Today was just one of those days where we had to maximize what we could out of the car. Tomorrow we start P3, so it is going to be a lot better. We already know what the problem was and what we have to do to fix the car. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully we can get a podium."

 

ROBERT MEGENNIS
No. 27 ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT DALLARA
START FINISH CHAMPIONSHIP
6 7 9TH / 204 PTS.
OF NOTE: Was forced to pit lane as the right-front tire went down // After tapping the wall on his second lap of qualifying, Megennis will start Race 2 from 12th
"Today was a bit out of control. We had a really good practice - we were fifth. We were a tenth to a tenth and half off of P1. I was really happy with that. In qualifying, I think we just missed it a bit with the conditions. I pushed it a little hard with my driving on the second lap and that's why we ended up tapping the wall and hurting the car. Serious props to the team for getting the car back out. It was super close. They worked super hard to get me back out and I appreciate that from all of them. We had a crazy race. We got up to fifth, fighting for fourth then the right-front tire went. We are not sure why that happened. We still ended up seventh as everyone else's tires went too. I'll take it for the crazy day it was. Big thanks to the team and we'll have a good race tomorrow."

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