Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting
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Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

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Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

We’ve seen hot Formula 3 drivers fumble at F2, and F2 champs fail to make a mark in Formula 1, but actually the steps at the very start of a racing career are the ones that can feel like trying to vault over chasms. Some great kart drivers can’t make the transition to racecars, while others adapt swiftly to wingless cars such as F1600 and then struggle to feel the limits of a car with aerodynamic downforce. They need more track time that they don’t have because that would require more money that they don’t have.

Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 Indy Lights champion, is very different. He doesn’t just succeed at each level, he excels. He won on his debut in F1600 in 2015. He scored a win and eight other podiums in Formula 4 U.S. the following year to claim third in the championship for Primus Racing, before moving to Cape Motorsports for 2017 and demolishing the opposition – admittedly not deep that year. The same could be said for F3 U.S. in 2018, too, which he conquered from the seat of an Abel Motorsports entry – but while doing that he was simultaneously out-racing the opposition in USF2000 and taking that title, too, for the Cape brothers. Across the two series that year, he won 27 of 31 races entered.

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