Saturday morning dust-ups involve Herta, Ferrucci and Kirkwood

A Saturday morning pillow fight broke out on pit lane at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. The combatants in this mostly verbal exchange were A.J. Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci (pictured above) and the Andretti Global pairing of Kyle Kirkwood and Colton Herta.

The matter at hand were the attempts by the trio to find clear space on the tight 1.6-mile street course to perform unencumbered laps to get reads on their cars before going into qualifying.

The opening salvo was produced by Kirkwood and Ferrucci as they approached a left-hand corner. With Kirkwood veering towards the right to setup for the turn, Ferrucci shot down the inside to pass Kirkwood and tried to get over to the right as much as possible to properly apex the corner, but Kirkwood started turning left and their cars made very light contact. The exchange incensed Kirkwood.


“Santino needs to be kicked out of the series,” he said across the radio to his No. 27 Honda team.

Ferrucci and Herta also found each other during the same late-session window and the Foyt driver went to great lengths to prevent Herta from getting by in the No. 26 Honda to do a single-lap run in front of his No. 14 Chevy.

After the session, Kirkwood went to confront Ferrucci on pit lane and was grabbed and pushed backward by the Foyt driver before an IndyCar official separated them and moved Ferrucci rearward to the pit wall.

“You turned into me, you f***ing piece of s**t,” Ferrucci was heard saying on the broadcast. “Don’t ever do that again.”

Other than the grabbing of Kirkwood’s firesuit, the confrontation didn’t escalate into anything that could be confused with a serious physical altercation. To that end, Kirkwood laughed as he walked back to his pit box and the verbal pillow fight continued in separate interviews with the three participants.

“We’re in practice. I’m on a lap that’s gonna put us P3, right?” Ferrucci said. “I know everybody’s fighting traffic. I’m coming down the hill and who just turns into somebody and slides the car into you? I mean, it’s such a dickish move, man. I grew up karting with [Kirkwood], known him a long time. I’ve always been better with him than race craft, so I’ve never seen him do something like that. But you saw him turn into (Team Penske’s Josef) Newgarden yesterday. It’s a shame. It’s it’s tight track. We’re way quicker than this and it would have been nice to at least get one lap in.”

Told by NBC that Kirkwood placed the blame on him, the diminutive driver from Connecticut refused to back down and fired a homophobic shot at Herta for good measure.

“Well, if you go back and watch and you see him step on it and turn left, I don’t know what more evidence you need from that, man,” he said. “He’s got the onboard camera, not us. And then his little boyfriend teammate over there did the same thing. Leave it to them, man. We’re out here doing our own thing. You know it’s Detroit. I’m having a blast. Our crew’s all fired up. We know we’ve got a hot rod.”

NBC paid its next visit to Kirkwood, informing him of Ferrucci’s take on the situation.

“He said I did that?” Kirkwood said of being positioned as the guilty party in the contact. “Of course he’s gonna say that. Everyone stops here, right? 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, nearly they 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 tried to drive me into the wall. And then I went up and tried to talk to him about it. And then he grabs me, is like shaking me, like, ‘What are you getting mad at me for?’ It’s insane. But we’ve seen it before with him.”

Kirkwood shared what he was hoping to say to Ferrucci before the confab was interrupted.

“I was just going to tell him that’s completely unnecessary, like everyone needs to get their gaps, like everyone needs to get a lap in so you can try and tune on your car,” he said. “But if you’re crashing into people on purpose, then you’re not gonna be able to tune on your car, so it was just to see where his head was not because he clearly wasn’t on a fast lap anyways. It just makes no sense to me at all.”

The Floridian, who was the second-fastest driver in the session, had a snarky parting shot for the 20th-placed Ferrucci after being asked if he feared being raced more aggressively by Foyt’s pilot on Sunday.

“I think based on that, he’ll be a little bit behind us, so I’m not too worried,” Kirkwood said.

Herta swung the final pillow and brought Team Penske, which provides Foyt with technical support, into the chat.

“I don’t even know what I did,” he said. “I don’t know…that guy’s a head case. But I’m happy with our program. I’m not really sure what I did to make him mad. He passed me before the alternate line. Like, we’re all waiting for our gaps and he passed me, and so I passed him back and ruined his lap.

“He’s driving a Penske car to P20 again for the fifth consecutive weekend, so I’m happy with what we’re doing here. (Our) car is fast and we don’t have time for him and his shenanigans at the back.”

Story originally appeared on Racer