Thermal Club Spring Training Day 2: Honda sweeps again

By: Spencer Neff
February 3, 2023

Day 2 Test Results 

On Friday, the 27 full-time entries of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES spent six hours across two sessions on the 17-turn, 3.067-mile road course at the Thermal Club in Thermal, California.

The schedule of Friday’s on-track activity followed that of Thursday. Here’s a look at how the day went.

Ericsson paces morning session

Session 3 Results

For the third session in a row, Honda-powered cars would occupy the first three spots on the time sheets. In the morning session, 2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson would post the fastest time.

Ericsson posted the fastest time of anyone across the four sessions (James Black/INDYCAR)

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver recorded a best lap of 1m38.4223 (112.182 mph), finishing the session .1459 of a second in front of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard.

Kyle Kirkwood of Andretti Autosport finished third with defending series champion Will Power of Team Penske in fourth, best of the Chevrolet entries(1m38.8702-111.674 mph).

Ericsson and Santino Ferrucci of A.J. Foyt Racing ran the fewest number of laps during the session (16). Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay logged the most (38).

Colton Herta, who notched the quickest time in each of yesterday’s session, finished in 14th.

After posting tenth-best in each of yesterday’s sessions, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong would again lead all rookies in 16th.

Kirkwood leads final session

Session 4 Results

After a clutch issue brought his day to a premature end on Thursday, Kyle Kirkwood continued to impress as he returns to the team where he won the 2021 Indy Lights (now INDY NXT By Firestone ) championship.

Kirkwood finished second, third and first in the sessions where he was able to complete a lap at speed (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

The sophomore driver from Jupiter, Florida led the fourth and final session, turning in a best lap of 1m38.8279 (111.721 mph) in his Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda.

Kirkwood topped fellow second-year racer Callum Ilott of Juhncos Hollinger Racing by .0125 of a second. Ilott was the only driver to record a top three finish in any session for a Chevrolet-powered entry.

Armstrong continued to lead the four rookies in this year’s field. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver ended the afternoon session in third, just .0005 of a second from Ilott’s best lap. Armstrong’s teammate and 2021 Series Champion Alex Palou finished fourth with 2022 Series Champion Will Power of Team Penske in fifth.

Up Next

With the Open Test and Spring Training complete, the focus now moves to the 2023 season. The first race for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The first practice on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit in Florida is set for 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 3. The green flag for the 100-lap race is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET. Keep an eye on’s social media for updates and other news on the 2023 season., 

Header Image: A logo commemorating the 30th anniversary of Honda performance Development’s first IndyCar entry adorns the No. 26 of Colton Herta (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)


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