Kirkwood joins A.J. Foyt Racing for 2022 IndyCar season

The reigning Indy Lights champion Kyle Kirkwood has a new team to call home after it was announced that he will be joining AJ Foyt Racing and pilot the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season.

Kirkwood, a 23-year-old native from Jupiter, Florida, who began his racing career through karting before working his way through the open wheel ladder, is coming off his first Indy Lights championship, where he won 10 races while competing for Andretti Autosport.

The partnership with AJ Foyt Racing will mark Kirkwood’s inaugural presence in IndyCar competition for the upcoming season.

“I actually met [team president] Larry [Foyt] for the first time in 2018 at Road America when I was driving in USF2000 with Cape Motorsports,” Kirkwood said. “He was the first person in the INDYCAR paddock to show me around the car and explain the dynamics of what it takes to be an Indy car team and driver. From that moment, I felt very comfortable with the atmosphere of the team and now it has come to fruition that I will be driving the No. 14. It’s hard to explain in words the excitement I have to drive for such an experienced and legendary team. I know I will be filling some very big shoes, but I think it’s the perfect timing and group to be able to do so. Considering I have 19 years of experience driving, and it’s all led to this moment to becoming a full time Indy car driver — It’s truly a dream come true,” the Floridian continued. “It’s incredible seeing the completely unexpected path I took in previous years blossom into something I’ve always hoped for as a kid in karting.”

In winning this year’s Indy Lights title, Kirkwood became the first competitor to achieve a championship in every Road to Indy program (US F2000 National Championship in 2018, Indy Pro 2000 Championship in 2019 and Indy Lights Championship in 2021). The Road to Indy program was established in 2010 to provide a scholarship-funded path for aspiring competitors to compete in the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. 

Having won all three titles in the program and with the scholarship prize, he is guaranteed a starting spot for three IndyCar events, including the 2022 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kirkwood, who is also a champion of the Formula 4 United States Championship league in 2017 and who won a Team USA Scholarship in 2016 while competing in F4, experienced his first taste in an IndyCar during a test session with Andretti Autosport at Sebring International Raceway in October. Since then, he participated in three IndyCar test sessions with his latest test occurring at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test near the end of October.

“What I’ve learned in my three INDYCAR tests is that the Indy Lights car and the Indy car are not massively different,” Kirkwood added. “As we’ve seen with many drivers, it’s quite an easy transition. The best thing that you can take away from the RTI [Road to Indy] is the track experience. With minimal time during weekends, it’s crucial to maximize practice. Having the track experience eliminates a period of time spent learning, so you can solely focus on the car and driving. The biggest difference I’ve noticed in my tests is the tire. The Firestone tire creates a lot more grip. There are other differences, like steering weight, downforce and braking capabilities, but all of those are just a nice step forward from the Indy Lights car.”

Initially left without a full-time ride with Andretti for the upcoming IndyCar season, Kirkwood began reaching out to other teams for an opportunity to compete in the series before landing himself a full-time seat with AJ Foyt Racing.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kyle to the team,” Larry Foyt, Team President of AJ Foyt Enterprises, Inc., added. “Obviously, he has been very successful on his climb through the Road to Indy Championships and his record speaks for itself. This deal came together rather quickly, but I’ve already been impressed with how Kyle thinks about racing and the maturity he seems to have for such a young driver. The NTT INDYCAR Series is as competitive as ever, and the challenges are great, but we feel Kyle will be a great asset as we take on those challenges and work to grow as a team.”

Kirkwood replaces veteran Sébastien Bourdais, a four-time consecutive Champ Car champion who drove AJ Foyt’s No. 14 Chevrolet during the final three races of the 2020 IndyCar season before taking over the ride on a full-time basis in 2021. Bourdais is set to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing and its Daytona Prototype international (Dpi) program for the upcoming IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Kirkwood’s confirmation to compete for AJ Foyt Racing completes one of three planned entries for the team for the upcoming IndyCar season. The remainder of the team’s driver lineup is to be determined.

Kirkwood is set to make his NTT IndyCar Series debut in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on February 27, 2022.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Andrew Kim
An avid motorsports enthusiast from California with aspirations of working in any form of communications, PR or digital/social media in motorsports.

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