AJ Foyt Racing were able to takeaway some positives from what was ultimately a disappointing home race at Texas Motor Speedway for team.
Kyle Kirkwood, competing in his first oval race in the NTT IndyCar Series in the No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet had a great run going until he was forced to retire from the race due to contact.
Speaking following the action, Kirkwood said:
Unfortunately, we ended our race a bit too early. “Making some passes happen, we came through the field at one point from the mid-20s up to the top 10, we were actually leading for a few laps off strategy so super happy with the team, the No. 14 car was just amazing. Unfortunately, we got caught out by some of the sealer at the top of the track. I was racing hard with Devlin on a restart, and I just ran out of track because when you get into that PJ1, the car just sets sailing and that really caught us out today. So super unfortunate but super happy with our performance. Everyone knew we were here, we were contenders at this race and we’ll just carry that momentum – not from us crashing–but the momentum from how well our pace was into Long Beach.”
J.R Hildebrand in the No.11 ROKiT Chevrolet had a great first outing for the team since been confirmed as their oval driver for the third car as he made steady progress during the race running in 11th before finishing the event in 14th place.
“It was just kind of a fight back day for us. “We had some issues yesterday, didn’t qualify well, but figured out what we were battling with the car after the final practice session; there was a little bit of an inconsistency with the setups with the way the car was put together. So going into today, in some ways, it felt a little bit like first practice all over again. So we knew what we’d had to work with but we hadn’t really made any progress with the car through the practice sessions yesterday. Got out there today and the car felt pretty good, it felt racy, we were able to make it go really long on fuel and the car was underneath me for all of this. Beyond that we were trying to be opportunistic, make moves where we could and outlast guys. That was really the name of the game at the end of the day. We managed to do that and came away with a pretty solid finish given where we started, and onto the next one.”
Despite making seven pit-stops during the race, Dalton Kellett in the No.4 K Line Insulators Chevrolet came home in 17th place having started the race from 22nd place.
Speaking following the race, a philosophical Kellett said:
Overall, our pace wasn’t really where we needed it to be in qualifying. “I think we made
improvements from last year, the car was definitely better in race trim than we were last year, so there are positives to take there. Not the weekend we were hoping for coming out of here but we got a lot of good data, we did try some stuff that will be beneficial to us the rest of the season. Obviously, it was a shame for the way things ended for the 14 car for Kyle and ROKiT, no one ever wants to see a teammate taken out. I hope he’s feeling alright after that hit. We’ll just have to take the lessons from this weekend and try to find a bit more pace in qualifying because track position is so important