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David Malsher-Lopez

Rossi out, Kirkwood in at Andretti Autosport for IndyCar 2023

Rossi has been with Michael Andretti’s team since he arrived in IndyCar in 2016, and scored seven wins including the 2016 Indianapolis 500. He also finished second in the 2018 championship and third in 2019.

However, for a variety of reasons – misfortune, slow pitstops and some driving errors – the 30-year-old Californian has not won an IndyCar race for almost three years and six podium finishes over the last two seasons have seen him finish only ninth and 10th respectively in the end-of-year standings.

He is expected to join Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet.

“Alexander has been a great contender for us, and we’ve enjoyed having him as part of the team for seven seasons,” said Andretti. “He’s won races and become a leader in the team, but all careers and all teams evolve, and we’ve mutually decided it’s time for each of us to move on.

“I have no doubt he’ll have a continued, successful IndyCar career and we wish him the best. In the mean time, we are all working hard to finish the 2022 season strong.” 

Rossi's seventh and most recent IndyCar win came at Road America in 2019. (Photo by: Scott R LePage / Motorsport Images)

Replacing Rossi will be Kyle Kirkwood, who last year won the Indy Lights championship with Andretti Autosport, becoming the first driver to have won all three steps of the Road To Indy ladder. He scored 31 wins across his 50 races in USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights.

Michael Andretti couldn’t find room for him in its 2022 IndyCar line-up, and so Kirkwood is spending his rookie season racing for AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet. However, next year he will take over the #27 AutoNation-backed Andretti Autosport-Honda.

AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer, will be the car’s primary sponsor for the full 2023 racing calendar as it aims for $35m in donations in the fight against cancer. AutoNation and DRVPNK have appeared on Andretti racecars since 2014.

“I couldn’t be more excited to return to Andretti Autosport next year and represent AutoNation,” said Kirkwood. “Andretti Autosport is a place I’ve called home for years past and I have truly felt like family.

“I have a ton of loyalty to the team, and it means a lot to have Michael and the Andretti team offer me this opportunity. AutoNation has been doing great work in raising awareness and funding for cancer research. I’m honored to Drive Pink (DRVPNK) next season.

Kirkwood continued, “I have worked extremely hard this season and will continue to work harder every day for the A.J. Foyt team. I want to thank the entire team at A.J. Foyt Racing for giving me the opportunity to compete in the NTT IndyCar Series. The group on the #14 car have been incredible and I am beyond grateful to them for all the amazing experiences we have been able to share together so far this season.”

Said Andretti: “We really enjoyed having Kyle as part of our Indy Lights team and he’s off to a strong start in IndyCar. I think he’ll bring a fresh perspective and will be competitive. We are looking forward to helping him continue his career growth.

“AutoNation first joined the team eight years ago and we’ve been thrilled to see how their support has continued to grow over the years. We’ve seen a lot of successes both on and off the track and are excited to see what Kyle and AutoNation can do together for the DRVPNK campaign.”

AutoNation chief experience officer and EVP Marc Cannon said: “We are excited to welcome Kyle to the team and for the passion and commitment he will bring to our mission to drive out cancer, through DRVPNK.

“We would also like to wish Alexander all the best and thank him for his endless efforts to support AutoNation’s mission to drive out cancer over the years.” 

Kyle Kirkwood, AJ Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet (Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images)
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