Kirkwood Heads Honda Qualifying Sweep at Long Beach

  • Kyle Kirkwood scores career first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole in qualifying for Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
  • Marcus Ericsson completes front row sweep for Honda
  • Honda drivers claim five of the top-six` qualifying positions

Rising star Kyle Kirkwood scored his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole today in qualifying action for Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, as Honda drivers claimed the first five positions in the 27-car starting field for Sunday’s race.

Marcus Ericsson, defending Indianapolis 500 champion and winner of the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, took his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to second in the final round of knockout qualifying, completing a front-row sweep for Honda.

The second row of Sunday’s starting field also will be all Honda, with Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean qualifying third with 2021 series champion Alex Palou fourth for Chip Ganassi Racing.  Palou’s Ganassi teammate, six-time series champion Scott Dixon rounded out the top five today for Honda.

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Honda Qualifying Results

  •   1st Kyle Kirkwood                     Andretti Autosport Honda
  •   2nd Marcus Ericsson                Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   3rd Romain Grosjean                Andretti Autosport Honda
  •   4th Alex Palou                          Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  •   5th Scott Dixon                         Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 7th Colton Herta                       Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 12th Marcus Armstrong-R           Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 14th Simon Pagenaud                Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 15th Jack Harvey                       Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 16th Helio Castroneves              Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 17th Christian Lundgaard            Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 20th Devlin DeFrancesco            Andretti Autosport Honda
  • 21st Sting Ray Robb-R               Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
  • 24th Graham Rahal                    Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 25th David Malukas                    Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Honda

R – Rookie

Kyle Kirkwood (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda) pole qualifier, career-first INDYCAR pole; second consecutive street circuit pole for Honda in 2023: “I’m just ecstatic at the moment. Our car is on fire this weekend.  We’re doing really well.  Everyone at Andretti Autosport, HPD and Honda, they’re all doing an amazing job this weekend. The car just keeps getting better and better; and I couldn’t be any happier. Our third weekend with the team, and we’ve already got a pole. It’s another step in the right direction for us.”

Marcus Ericsson (#8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) qualified second, equals his career-best Indy car start, and his best road/street circuit qualifying result: "It was a really, really good lap.  The entire session was really smooth for us. The Husky Chip Ganassi Honda was fast, and I had a lot of confidence going into qualifying.  We worked so hard as a team to improve our qualifying in the off-season, and I worked on myself to improve my mental state for qualifying. So far, all that work is paying off for us.”

Romain Grosjean (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) qualified third: “I messed up a little bit at the hairpin [on this fastest lap]. I had to pull in the clutch in the middle of the corner. But I’m really happy for [teammate and pole qualifier Kyle [Kirkwood] and really happy for the team.”

Fast Facts

  • Honda’s second street circuit pole is as many races in the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES, both recorded by Andretti Autosport drivers:  Kyle Kirkwood today for his first career IndyCar pole, and teammate Romain Grosjean at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
  • Honda-powered drivers and teams have won the Grand Prix of Long Beach 15 times in 22 appearances. This includes victories in eight of the last 13 races; and a seven-year victory streak in Championship Auto Racing Teams competition, against multi-manufacturer competition, from 1996-2002.
  • Honda’s most recent Long Beach success was recorded in 2021 by hometown favorite Colton Herta.  The native of nearby Valencia, California returns with his Andretti Autosport team in 2023.
  • In addition to Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach NTT INDYCAR SERIES race, Acura also will be featured in today’s IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship race.  Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing will each field an electrified Acura ARX-06 prototype, and an Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 will be run by Gradient Racing.

Where to Watch
Television coverage of Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach starts at 3 p.m. EDT on NBC.  Complete, flag-to-flag race coverage also will be available on NBC Peacock, the INDYCAR Radio Network, and SiriusXM INDYCAR Nation (Channel 160).

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