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Kyle Kirkwood will be joining IndyCar this season, advancing up to the top-level series after blitzing his way through each of the steps on the Road to Indy ladder.

The 23-year-old only spent one year in each of the official feeder series, but was able to dominate every step of the way and secure a championship at each level.

Due to his past performances, Kirkwood’s first season in IndyCar driving for AJ Foyt Racing comes bundled with a lot of expectations heaped upon him.

An easy cruise to the Rookie of the Year award or a bevy of podiums is not assured, however, as the level of talent in IndyCar is quite a bit higher than in the development series.

“Of course it’s going to be a tougher crowd racing in IndyCar,” said Kirkwood ahead of the season. “I fully expect that.

“Most of the drivers in Road to Indy are rookies.  I’m coming into IndyCar as a rookie where there are veteran drivers that have been here for 15 years. It’s all new to me.

“Of course, I have to take a step back, know I need to learn some things. Most of the time, most of the categories, I came into it knowing I probably had the most knowledge. Now I’ve got probably the least.”

Kirkwood went on to describe that, even if he is one of the fastest drivers on the grid, top results will only come if he can work well with his new team.

“You can only do as well as you can, as well as the equipment is, how well I’m driving, whatever it might be, what the conditions are. It all comes from within.

“I don’t think you can look from the outside, you can’t be in third person trying to figure out how you’re doing. That just comes from within. How you feel as a team is more important.”