until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


New IndyCar feud between Andretti duo and 'headcase' Ferrucci

by Jack Benyon
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

A new IndyCar rivalry has emerged after Santino Ferrucci shoved Kyle Kirkwood in the pits following an on-track incident in practice at Detroit, leading Kirkwood to call the contact on track “dumb" and "dangerous"

The new Detroit street track is hosting its second IndyCar race, and with a laptime of just over a minute, drivers can often stack up and encounter traffic - especially in the final practice before qualifying when everyone is looking for perfect conditions for one clean lap.

In the incident that has been broadcast, Kirkwood, with team-mate Colton Herta up ahead, is backing up at Turn 5 to get clean air for a lap, when Ferrucci dives down the inside and appears to push Kirkwood to the wall after the Andretti driver tries to turn in.

Ferrucci then also passes Herta - who later took pole in qualifying - just before the entry to Turn 6, almost clobbering the wall on the right-hand side in the process.

“He [Ferrucci] said he was upset with you because he said you made the first move a couple corners ago,” Dave Burns of NBC posed to Kirkwood, referencing a potential unseen inciting incident.

Kirkwood replied: “Of course he's gonna say that.

“Everyone stops here, everyone has to wait, get your gap, get a clean lap in. It's practice, relax. And that's not what he did. He decided to do it to me, then he did it to Colton, too. They nearly collided.

“I don't know what he's doing. His lap was already ruined. He just ruined his next lap, too.

“It's just dumb, it's dangerous, he drove right into me, purposely trying to drive me into the wall.

“And then I went up and tried to talk to him about it, and then he grabs me, shaking me. It's like, what are you getting mad at me for? It's insane, but we've seen it before with him, so...”

Kirkwood has been known for giving a sometimes sarcastic thumbs up out of his cockpit through his IndyCar career, and replied to the video of the altercation on Twitter with a thumbs up emoji.

Herta was also interviewed after practice by NBC and had some choice words for Ferrucci.

“I don’t even know what I did,” he said, “ I don’t know, that guy is a headcase.

“I’m not really sure what I did to make him mad.

“He passed me before the alternate line, we’re all waiting for our gaps and he passed me, so I passed him back and ruined his lap.

“He can do his thing, we’ll do ours. He’s driving a Penske car to like P20 for like the fifth consecutive weekend. So, I’m happy with what we’re doing here.

“We don’t have time for him and his shenanigans at the back.”

Herta was referencing Foyt’s technical alliance with Penske in his 'P20' comments.

The shoving that followed between Kirkwood and Ferrucci was a far cry from the Ricky Stenhouse and Kyle Busch fight after the All-Star race at North Wilkesboro, which has put driver aggression and series’ responses to it in the spotlight - especially as NASCAR effectively used the footage of the fight as promotion but then fined Stenhouse.

Asked what he wanted to say to Ferrucci when he approached the Foyt driver, Kirkwood said: “I was just going to tell him that completely unnecessary.

“Everyone needs to get their gaps, everyone needs to get a lap in so you can try and tune on your car, but if you're crashing into people on purpose, then you're not gonna be able to tune on your car.

“So it [going over to talk to Ferrucci] was just kind of to see where his head was at, because he clearly wasn't on a fast lap anyway. It just makes no sense to me at all.”

Kirkwood saved a quip for last, replying to the question of whether he was worried about Santino might race him tomorrow with “I think based on that, he'll be a little bit behind us, so I'm not too worried”.

Ferrucci hits back

Ferrucci said it was a "dickish" move on Kirkwood's part.

"We’re in practice, I’m on a lap that’s going to put us P3, I know everybody is fighting traffic, I’m coming down the hill, and who just turns into somebody and slides the car into you?" he said.

"It’s such a dickish move, man. I grew up karting with him, known him a long time, always been better with him in racecraft so yeah, never seen him do something like that dumb.

"But you saw him turn in to [Josef] Newgarden yesterday. It’s a shame. It’s a tight track, we’re way quicker than this and it would have been nice to get one quick lap in. So, it’s fine, it is what it is."

Ferrucci then said Herta "did the same thing", while offensively describing him as Kirkwood's "little boyfriend team-mate".

"So yeah, leave it to them, we’re out here doing our own thing, it’s Detroit, I’m having a blast, crew’s all fired up, we know we got hot rod."

IndyCar said "no action" when asked if there would be any penalty for the drivers involved in the incident.

On Ferrucci's comments, IndyCar spoke with Ferrucci after track action and expressed its "displeasure" with his comments. He was reportedly "very apologetic" and "recognized his remarks reflected poor judgement".

IndyCar consider the matter concluded unless it happens again.

Ferrucci issued an apology after his Detroit qualifying where he managed 10th.

"I just want to say sorry for what I said, and how I acted to Kyle and towards Colton," he said.

"They’re great competitors, I was definitely a little hot out of the car, and I love racing against them."

Asked if he had any reaction to that after qualifying, Herta simply said: "No."

Ferrucci was in the spotlight again in qualifying when he was accused of blocking Romain Grosjean. An angry Grosjean flew out of his car after his session was over and went straight to Ferrucci's team owner Larry Foyt, launching an expletive-filled tirade about Ferrucci.

After the session, Ferrucci said "if IndyCar’s not calling it then it’s not really a big deal".

Grosjean and Ferrucci have come together multiple times this season.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks