Marcus Armstrong was the best of the Kiwis in this morning’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach, coming home eighth following a series of late positional gains.
Scott McLaughlin snuck into 10th in the dying stages, while Scott Dixon was forced from the race early on following contact from Pato O’Ward. He was able to return to the track for a brief stint before eventually retiring on Lap 38 with no oil pressure.
It was Kyle Kirkwood who took overall honours, the American deserving in his maiden IndyCar series win following a difficult opening two races. Romain Grosjean finished second, also improving on two DNFs incurred in the opening two rounds. Marcus Ericsson rounded out the podium to now lead the championship.
Right from the get-go it had been Kirkwood performing well off pole, the IndyCar sophomore hiding off a strong Ericsson and Grosjean challenge to hold the lead through the opening stages.
An early yellow did bring the field together, Helio Castroneves spinning into the Turn 1 wall before limping back to the lane for a new nosecone.
Dixon worked forward off the restart, getting past O’Ward to sit sixth, as Josef Newgarden worked forward towards the front to challenge for the race lead. Lap 20 was when Dixon was spun by O’Ward, the Mexican making a dive at Turn 8 and making contact with the Kiwi, forcing him nose-first into the wall, triggering a second caution.
Dixon was able to return to the lane for repairs before eventually retiring 18 laps later.
Up front, McLaughlin worked into contention but faded dramatically in his second stint on green tyres, dropping from fourth down to outside the top 10.
Armstrong had worked forward to 10th by this point, where he remained for the majority of the closing stages until passing a fading Newgarden and Alexander Rossi, who buried his Chevy-powered car in the wall from sixth on the penultimate lap.
Kirkwood had been able to fend off strong challenges from Grosjean and Ericsson, emerging victorious in what shapes up as a breakthrough win for the Floridian.
IndyCar head to Indianapolis later this week for a two-day test before returning to action at Barber Motorsport Park on April 30.
Dixon now sits sixth in the standings, with McLaughlin tenth and Armstrong seventeenth.