Kyle Kirkwood Crowned 2021 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Champion
Kyle Kirkwood was officially crowned the 2021 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Champion Sunday at the season finale at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Claiming the 2021 title, Kirkwood is the first driver to win all three Road to Indy Championships (USF2000 - 2018, Indy Pro 2000 - 2019, Indy Lights - 2021) and the first to capture all three titles in consecutive years, excluding 2020 when the Indy Lights Series did not run due to COVID-19 restrictions.
On Saturday, Kirkwood captured his 10th victory of the 2021 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season - a tied Indy Lights record for most wins in a single season (Greg Moore - 1995). After Kirkwood captured Saturday’s Race 1 victory, the Florida-native needed to finish no worse than 11th in the 12-car field to clinch the championship title in Sunday's race. With Sunday’s championship win, an Andretti Autosport driver has now won the last three Indy Lights Driver Championship titles.
Teammate Robert Megennis had an impressive start in Race 1 jumping up one position ultimately joining Kirkwood on the podium in third. While Sunday’s Race 2 brought wet conditions, Megennis managed to drive a clean race to finish ninth. After two consecutive podiums at Mid-Ohio in July, Danial Frost came up just shy of another podium to finish Race 1 in fourth. In Race 2, Frost showed control and pace on a wet track as the Singaporean driver advanced three positions from ninth to sixth. As the field came to the green flag, Devlin DeFrancesco had his eyes set on breaking into the top five from his starting position of sixth, but the shuffle at the start of Race 1 forced the Italian-Canadian back a few positions. DeFrancesco rebounded from Saturday’s Race 1 to capture his best start at Mid-Ohio and wheeled his No. 17 machine around the 2.258-mile road course to bring home a fourth-place finish and the eighth top five of his 2021 Indy Lights campaign.
As the 2021 Indy Lights season has come to an end, in addition to the championship title the Andretti stable boasted an impressive year with 10 wins, 10 pole positions and 23 podiums.