AJFR GMR Grand Prix Preview

The GMR Grand Prix has kicked off the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2014. The ninth running of the race will mark the first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for rookie Tatiana Calderón in the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet. Team veteran Dalton Kellett, with 28 races under his belt, made his NTT INDYCAR Series debut in the GMR Indy Grand Prix in 2020. Indy Lights champion in 2021, Kyle Kirkwood will also be making his first start in the GMR Grand Prix in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet. The drivers give their comments below…

Tatiana Calderón – No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet

“I’m really excited to race in Indianapolis for the first time at IMS because I think it is going to be quite

special for me, for any driver in the world really. It’s such an historic place and I can’t believe I’ve never done a lap around it. I’ve been there to watch an Indy 500 race about 10 years ago–actually watching J.R. almost win it. It’s going to be amazing to really drive there. Obviously, the [tire] compound changes from street circuits to permanent road courses and Barber is a little bit different from any other permanent race track but I think we kind of know what to expect now from the car and the tires.

“IMS is a circuit that has less elevation changes than Barber, a bit more technical, not that many high-speed corners, so hopefully it can suit my style a bit more. On the other hand, talking to the engineers, they tell me they have struggled a little bit in the past in the [GMR] grand prix’s layout, so I think we have a lot of ideas we want to implement in the car to try to be more competitive. My being a rookie this year is going to be a little tough, especially the first free practice, but hopefully I can get up to speed a bit quicker and challenge for better positions this time. I’m also excited to live the month of May in Indianapolis and watch the Indy 500 from the inside and learn from the best race in the world.”

Calderón Fast Facts: Age 29…Born in Bogota, Colombia and now living in Miami…Began racing karts at age 9 and has competed in Formula 2, Renault Series Formula V8 3.5 (first female on podium in Bahrein-2017), GP3, European Formula 3, British Formula 3 Series (first female podium)…Test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team for past four years…Enjoys tennis, water skiing and drinking coffee.

Dalton Kellett – No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet

“We’re all looking forward to kicking off the Month of May this weekend with the GMR Grand Prix. This

is obviously such a special time of year for us and the city of Indianapolis. The GP is an exciting way to get the racing action going, just a day until I can get back behind the wheel of the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevy. The track itself is interesting since it’s very smooth and has relatively low grip – so getting the setup right is tricky. The times always end up very tight through the field, so qualifying is going to be important. We will really be focusing on that as we start the weekend. If we can start in a good spot and race effectively, we’ll be in a position for a good finish.”

Kellett Fast Facts: Age 28…Born in Stouffville, Canada and lives in Indianapolis…Became engaged to Nicole Westra and they plan to wed on New Year’s Eve…Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf. For the technically curious, Kellett posts TikTok videos (@dalton_kellett) about the race car labeled “Indy Mondays” with subjects ranging from the steering wheel to the weight jacker to cold tires.

Kyle Kirkwood – No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet

“May is such a special month for INDYCAR and AJ Foyt Racing given the history that has been made at

the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by A.J. in the No. 14 car that I am now so proud to drive. We’re now a few races in and things seem to keep getting better. From an outside perspective you’d think that Barber wasn’t a great weekend for us, which results-wise it wasn’t, but internally the atmosphere is amazing and has only gotten better as the season has continued. I have had previous success here at IMS in lower categories and it is one of two tracks that I have been able to test on prior to the beginning of the season. Hopefully we can take what we learned at Barber and apply it to the IMS road course this coming weekend to start off our Month of May on a high.”

Kirkwood Fast Facts: Age 23…Born in West Palm Beach and lives in Jupiter, Florida… Only driver to win championships in all three divisions of the Road to Indy ladder system…Began racing karts at age 5, moved to cars (F4) in 2016 and dominated the F4 U.S. Championship with nine victories and six poles in 20 races…Won the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 title (12 wins in 14 races) and won 15 of 17 races to claim the F3 Americas Championship…Won the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with nine victories and five poles in 16 races (RP Motorsports)…Won 2021 Indy Lights title (2020 season canceled due to pandemic) with 10 victories, seven poles in 20 races.

Past Performance: Dalton Kellett will be making his sixth NTT INDYCAR Series start on the IMS road course. His best start to date is 24th and best finish 24th (May 2021). Both Tatiana Calderón and Kyle Kirkwood will be making their first start in an Indy car at IMS. Kirkwood’s best start and finish in the Indy Lights Series is fourth. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start on the IMS Road course is fourth with Jack Hawksworth in 2016 and their best finish is fourth with Matheus Leist in 2019. In both cases, the drivers were in their sophomore year of NTT INDYCAR series competition.

Last Race: At Barber Motorsports Park, the Foyt team had a tough weekend but came away with positives despite Kirkwood finishing 22nd, Kellett 23rd and Calderón 26th. The pit strategies did not work out with the way the cautions fell in the race but at different points during the race the drivers ran competitive lap times. The team felt they learned things that will aid them in future road course outings.

The GMR Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC Saturday starting at 3 p.m. ET. Qualifying (Friday, 4 p.m. ET) and practice sessions (Friday, 9:30 a.m. ET and 12:45 p.m. and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. ET) will be streamed live on Peacock Premium as will the post-race show. The INDYCAR Radio Network covers all on track sessions (race, qualifying and practices) which will air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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