Saturday morning dust-ups include Hertha, Ferrucci and Kirkwood

A pillow fight broke out Saturday morning in the pit lane at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. The combatants in this mostly verbal exchange are Santino Ferrucci of AJ Foyt Racing (pictured above) And the Andretti Global pairing of Kyle Kirkwood and Kolton Herta.

At issue were the trio’s attempts to find free space on the narrow 1.6-mile street course to perform unencumbered laps to get readings on their cars before going into qualifying.

The opening shot was fired by Kirkwood and Ferrucci as they approached the left corner. As Kirkwood swerved to the right to set up the turn, Ferrucci shot on the inside to pass Kirkwood and attempted to pass Kirkwood to the right as much as possible to properly apex the corner, but Kirkwood began to turn left and their cars were touching very lightly. The exchange angered Kirkwood.

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

Ferrucci and Herta also found each other during the same late session window and Foyt’s driver went to great lengths to prevent Herta from passing the No. 26 Honda for a single lap in front of the No. 14 Chevy.

After the session, Kirkwood went to confront Ferrucci in the pit lane and Foyt’s driver grabbed him and pushed him back before an IndyCar official separated them and moved Ferrucci back into the pit wall.

“You turned on me, motherfucker,” Ferrucci was heard saying on the broadcast. “do not do that again.”

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

“We’re in practice. I’m at a point that would put us in third place, right?” Ferrucci said. “I know everyone’s fighting traffic. I’m coming down the hill and who turns into someone and gets the car into you? I mean, it’s a ridiculous move, man. I grew up with karting, and I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve always been better with him than with karting, so “I’ve never seen him do anything like that. But you saw him turn into (Team Penske’s Josef) Newgarden yesterday. It’s a shame. It’s a tight track. We’re a lot quicker than that and it would have been nice to get at least one lap.”

Told by NBC that Kirkwood blamed 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 see him step on it and go left, I don’t know what more proof you need of that, man,” he said. “He got the camera on the plane, not us. And then his little friend 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 an explosion. Our crew’s all on fire.” We know we have a hot rod.

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NBC next visited Kirkwood, informing him of Ferrucci’s position on the situation.

“He said you did that?” Kirkwood said he was positioned as the guilty party in the call. “Of course he’s going to say that. Everyone stops here, right? Everyone has to wait, get your gap, get a clean lap. It’s training, relax. And that’s not what he did. He decided to do it to me; then he did it to Colton, and they almost That they collide, I don’t know what to do.

“I’ve already ruined his lap. It’s ruined his next one, too. It’s just stupid. He’s dangerous. He ran right into me, and deliberately tried to push me into the wall. And then I went up and tried to talk to him about it. Then he grabs me, like he’s shaking me, and says, ‘” Why are you mad at me? It’s crazy. But we’ve seen that with him before.”

Kirkwood shared what he hoped to say to Ferrucci before boycotting the conference.

“I was going to tell him this is completely unnecessary, everyone needs to cut their time gaps and everyone needs to do a lap so you can try to tune your car,” he said. “But if you were hitting people on purpose, you couldn’t adjust your car, so it was just a matter of figuring out where his head wasn’t because he obviously wasn’t on a fast lap anyway. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all.”

The Florida man, who was the second fastest driver in the session, took a shot at 20th-placed Ferrucci after being asked if he feared he would race too aggressively by Foyt’s pilot on Sunday.

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

Herta waved the last pad 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… this guy has a serious condition. But I’m happy with our program. I’m not really sure what I did to piss him off. He passed me before the alternate line. Like, we’re all waiting for our gaps and he passed me, so I passed him and ruined his lap.”

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

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