Kirkwood and Andretti perfectly in tune with victory in Music City

A well-executed strategy was paramount to Kyle Kirkwood's second win of the year

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Kyle Kirkwood has doubled his NTT IndyCar Series win tally after taking victory at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

The usually chaotic streets of Nashville were comparatively calm which saw teams have to run long stings for the first time after two previous caution-filled races. Kirkwood and Andretti Autosport were on the ball and the Floridian was fast enough to jump Scott McLaughlin at the final stop for victory.

It’s Kirkwood’s second win on street circuits after his dominant day in Long Beach earlier in the season, proving how strong the Andretti stable is on temporary tracks.

McLaughlin, the pole sitter, brought his Team Penske Chevrolet home in second as the two streaked clear of the fuel-saving Alex Palou during the final stint. The championship leader was helped by late cautions to make the flag in third, extending his lead over hometown hero Josef Newgarden.

The king of the ovals came home in fourth ahead of 2022 Nashville winner Scott Dixon with Romain Grosjean sixth from fellow ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson.

Superb debut, almost

Simon Pagenaud is still not fit enough to race for Meyer Shank Racing after his scary crash at Mid-Ohio so Linus Lundqvist made his IndyCar debut in Nashville. The Indy Lights champion of 2022 doesn’t have a full-time ride this season but showed what he can offer with a stunning debut.

It wasn’t a lights-to-flag victory or anything close but on one of the most difficult street circuits in North America, Lundqvist looked like a seasoned pro. Qualifying proved his potential, making the Fast 12 in an incredibly competitive field and bettering his experienced teammate Helio Castroneves.

But in the race itself, he was able to make a slightly different strategy work in his favour and he fought wheel-to-wheel with the best of the best in IndyCar on debut without his cooling duct for over 50 laps.

With just 10 laps to go, though, Lundqvist got wide into the marbles and hit the wall, bringing out a very late caution. He may not have had a full-time ride before but surely he will be snapped up by a team for 2024 based on this superb display.

Kyle Kirkwood in action at the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville | IndyCar
Pos.NameTeam
1Kyle KirkwoodAndretti Autosport
2Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske
3Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing
4Josef NewgardenTeam Penske
5Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing
6Romain GrosjeanAndretti Autosport
7Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi Racing
8Pato O’WardArrow McLaren
9Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan
10Will PowerTeam Penske
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Motorsport journalist, indyCar correspondent and F1 writer for Total-Motorsport.com
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