Andretti returns Kirkwood to 2023 as a replacement for Russia

IndyCar newcomer Kyle Kirkwood will replace Alexander Rossi next season at Andretti Autosport, the team that developed Floridian but had no place for him when Kirkwood was ready for the Premier League.

Kirkwood won at all levels of the IndyCar ladder system and was last year’s Indy Lights champion. But this year Michael Andretti had a full squad, so Kirkwood signed a one-year contract to participate in AJ Foyt Racing.

Rossi is expected to announce that he has signed a contract with Arrow McLaren SP ahead of this season, leaving place number 27 open to Andretti to bring back his precious young driver for 2023.

“We really enjoyed it when Kyle was part of our Indy Lights team and he has a strong start at IndyCar,” Michael Andretti said on Wednesday. “I think it will bring a new perspective and be competitive. We look forward to helping him continue his career. ”

Kirkwood won 10 races last year, guided by Andretti at Indy Lights to win the title. He made Voight’s mediocre cars look competitive in six races this season, finishing 10th in his career at Long Beach. Kirkwood finished 17th – he started 28th – in Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

The 23-year-old is also an endurance driver for the Vasser Sullivan Racing sports car program and a Toyota favorite. He is going to drive a Lexus for Wasser Sullivan on Saturday in Detroit when he performs double duties before the IndyCar race on Sunday.

Toyota would like to keep Kirkwood in its program, but does not compete in IndyCar; Kirkwood wants to continue driving Lexus for Wasser Sullivan after this year.

At this point, he had to take the opportunity to return to Andretti and fight for IndyCar’s victory.

“Andretti Autosport is a place I called home and I really felt like family,” he said. “I am very loyal to the team, and the fact that Michael and Andretti’s team offer me such an opportunity means a lot. I have worked very hard this season and will continue to work more every day for the AJ Foyt team.

“I want to thank the whole AJ Foyt Racing team for giving me the opportunity to compete. The band on the car № 14 was incredible and I am very grateful to them for all the amazing experiences we were able to share together this season ”.

Kirkwood will be sponsored by AutoNation, a partner of Andretti for the past eight years.

AutoNation was one of Rossi’s sponsors for seven years after he left Formula One and joined Andretti at IndyCar. Rossi has won seven races with Andretti, including the 100th Indianapolis 500 race of the 2016 beginner season for Rossi.

“Alexander was a great opponent for us, and we liked him when he was on the team for seven seasons,” said Andretti. “He won the race and became the leader in the team, but all the careers and all the teams are evolving and we mutually decided that it was time for each of us to move on.

“I have no doubt that he will have a sequel and a successful IndyCar career, and we wish him all the best.”

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